TOPE is getting set to release his LP “3am In Oakland” the first video from this is “Better Place”. In it TOPE gives us an update on where he’s been, the lessons he’s learned and more importantly what’s to come. Stewart Villain creates a vintage soundscape that TOPE flows through easily. Enough to whet your appetite, TOPE will have you ready for his new LP “3am in Oakland” which is coming soon.
Don Will, Ilyas, Von Pea, Che Grand, Rob Cave (fka Spec Boogie), Jermiside, Elucid, Aeon and Brickbeats make the supercrew The Lessondary. I personally have been waiting for this record for years. Now through HipNott records we’re getting the Lessondary’s first album “Ahead of Schedule”. Along with this announcement comes the first track “Introducing” featuring all the crew members and a beat by Brickbeats. You can peep it below and if you like what you hear you can pre-order the album as well.
A couple days ago Mello Music Group signed new artist Lando Chill. Now I have to admit I don’t know much about the new artist, but from the jump he leaves it all out in the open in his new video “Coroner”. Directed by Malcolm Critcher we get some jarring visuals that really put the song in perspective or at least engrave an image in your mind on the weight of what Lando’s talking about. I don’t really want to spoil anything so peep the video above, Lando Chill will be dropping his debut album later this summer on Mello Music Group.
Krum (fka Playdough) has come through with what I think is some of the best music he’s made in his already legendary career. “Bare Knuckle Gospel” is Krum’s first project under the new name and this time he taps Rob Viktum to handle the production, and do we have a nice one here. Rob Viktum specifically used Gospel samples and Krum has returned to the gritty roots of rap to give us a dusty, grimy project both lyrically and with production. Krum bares all in this while still keeping his pen sharp for those that dare test the DeepSpace5 artist. “Bare Knuckle Gospel” comes to us courtesy of Rappers I Know, you can download it for FREE now! Peep it below and let me know what you think in the comments section below!
Ohini Jonez has been on the grind for a minute and his latest effort “Circus Armageddon” is a unique, experimental project that hits hard. Now at face value you may take the production as more of a mainstream sound, but Bijan Amir along with Jonez’ conscious and aware lyrics make this release hard to call anything short of art. Dark tones, catchy tones and everything in between can be found on this record, stream it below and if you’re feeling it, throw Jonez and Amir a couple bones.
Ugly Heroes are getting set to release their second LP “Everything in Between” last month I gave you guys the first single “This World”. Today I have “Heart Attack” which diverts from the usual dark, plagued tone that is established through Apollo Brown’s soundscape and Red Pill and Verbal Kent’s lyrics. This time around the two emcees give us a ray of hope and tell us to keep on through the struggle. “Everything in Between” is my favorite album of 2016 so far and it drops in June. Let me know what you think of “Heart Attack” in the comments section below.
P.A.T Junior has been active all year in preparation for his LP dropping later this year. To get you guys ready he’s released an EP called “Test Out These Records”. Featuring production from Daniel Steele and J. Pelham and P.A.T Junior himself we get 4 tracks showcasing his ability both on the mic and behind the boards. Don’t box P.A.T Junior in though because he has a number of sounds and personalities to take you through in these four tracks. Stream it below and if you like throw him a couple bones.
Dear Mr. Lif,
Can you give me a minute? I mean, I’m trying to pivot from the song I just heard on the radio (Flo Rida’s “Welcome to My House”) to your new album, “Don’t Look Down”. Can you maybe ease into the album a bit? You know, start off with something laid back. Perhaps you could do a nice little instrumental intro. That would help transition me back into weightier content.
Well, after listening to the first song, “Pounds of Pressure,” I see that Mr. Lif did not get my letter. Geesh! This dude gets right into it. First song out the gate is reminiscent of a grimy, gritty Ghostface Killah street tale. Perhaps the album will calm down a bit on the second track, “The Abyss.” Nope! This song is a continuation of “Pounds of Pressure” and the beat is arguably the most exciting one on the project.
We are only two songs in and already we have something special on our hands. Mr. Lif is a gem. He has a unique voice: both in how his voice actually sounds and in how he delivers his point of view. He doesn’t just put words in motion. He carefully hand selects words, rearranges them in interesting ways, and effortlessly blows them over beats.
I like the beats on this album. I like them, but I think they flirt as the only flaw in the album. They are good and that’s the problem. Mr. Lif is light years beyond good. There are moments where the beats really capture me (i.e. ‘iLL’ & ‘Whizdom’), but overall they only provide the background to Lif’s performance. The nice thing about the production is that it does not get in the way; it is not cluttered. It does not take away from Lif’s skills. I just wish it supported them a bit more.
The features on the other hand definitely support Lif. Early on we hear singing by-way-of hook from Taylormade, Selina Carrera, & Erica Dee. And they all work well. Taylormade offers this beautifully eerie sound, Carrera brings a more demanding jazzy voice, and Dee is gentle and welcoming. Each is unique and adds to the vibe of each song.
Now that we’ve heard the singing features the guest emcees are up to bat and they come out swinging. Blacastan rips a fiery verse at the end of the Edan-produced ‘Whizdom.’ We’ll call it a single. The very next track, “Mission Accomplished” features The Perceptionists with Fakts One on the beat and Akrobatik trading syllables with Lif. Yes, Syllables. Most features these days are not even features. It’s some dude in California recording a verse and e-mailing it to some cat in Chicago. Slap it on a beat and call it collaboration. That’s not the case here. Lif and Akrobatik literally go back and forth sometimes finishing each others’ words. Dope. We have Blacastan, Lif, and Akrobatik, on base: time to bring in the heavy hitter, Del the Funky Homosapien. And the ball is out the park; grand slam. The features on this album from the singers to the emcees are top notch.
Then there is Mr. Lif himself. He is no doubt the best part of this album. His lyrical content is on point like always. Lif has consistently rapped truth to power, challenged the status quo, and told engaging stories throughout his career. “Don’t Look Down” does not deviate. Instead, it adds.
Lif also brings a fresh touch of vulnerability to this album. There seems to be a softening of heart here. Don’t get me wrong; Lif still brings the raw. But, it feels seasoned with tenderness. During the final song “Don’t Look Down” Lif raps, “I’m just trying to make a little sense of it all. Before I fall from walk to crawl to maybe even nothing at all.” When I hear this I can’t help but think that perhaps this entire album is a journey: a journey for deeper meaning in the midst of chaos. Perhaps that is why we are not to look down. Perhaps down can also be the past. It is the known, but not the ideal. It is what feels safe, but entirely too dangerous for us to remain.
Maybe Mr. Lif did receive my letter. He certainly did not begin his new album on a chill note, but by the time I got to the final song, “Don’t Look Down,” I was reclining back peering up into the annals of my life. Then I quickly began thinking about my present and future possibilities. I smiled. Huh. Perhaps I won’t look down again.
P.A.T Junior has been giving us snippets and previews of everything he’s been working on this year in prep for his LP slated to drop later this year. However with a slight change of plans the North Carolina artist will be dropping an EP to get you ready for the full-length. The second single from said EP is “There’s A Cooler Way!”. This track features Pat’s BLCKCNVS member TheDeeepEnd and the song is just about that keeping your cool regardless of circumstances. Peep the track and tell me what you think of the track in the comments section below.
Last November Sheisty Khrist and LoFidel came together to give us “Cold Winter” a unique record from a production standpoint and lyrical standpoint given the juggernaut that is Sheisty Khrist. Reeling off the success of that record Kno of Cunninlynguists and J-Live have remixed a couple joints from the album that will be released on vinyl. We get a sample of that today in Kno’s remix of “Havana Nights” which features Natti from Cunninlynguists. I won’t spoil any of it so peep the track below and be ready for the remix singles to drop tomorrow.