Lyrics and music with a purpose are always a good refreshing thing to hear in music. But, every so often, a person just wants to hear a song to zone out to and forget about your problems for the time being. “Woah”, by Mel does exactly what I just mentioned previously. Produced by Trauma Tone, synthesizer bells and migraine inducing 808s make this track rock. Mel gets rolling out of the gate and gives everyone reason to start paying attention to West Texas. “Man I walk in the mall, a nigga go crazy. I don’t know how to act. I be with them niggaz, you fuck with me wrong, and they’re laying you flat. Just give me a reason to shine on these niggaz. I’ll make it my victory lap. . .Staying up late, putting food on the plate, while the niggaz was catching some zzzs. Ho, I’m too wavy, now you gotta pay me. Shine bright, cause these niggaz Shady.” The simple catchy hook is the glue in this song that keeps everything together, and should keep the clubs packed. Texas has another artist that they may want to get behind.
Due to the affordability of software, the release of production packs (drum kits, pre-cut samples), and producers putting their own personal crafted sounds on the market, producers are popping up everywhere. There is nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, it gives very talented people who wouldn’t usually have the chance to be heard. The downside of this slope is that you have a bunch of people who want to become producers just because the access is to software and sounds is there. They could care less about the craft, or the history of Hip Hop production, all they want is to sound like whatever is hot right now. Info56 not only sounds like he studies the history of Hip Hop, but he also takes the craft of production seriously. In his new release Southwest, he puts together a tight knit, woven sound with precisely chopped samples and thick drums. On the title track, he chops up a brass section, with electric guitar wahs, that sounds perfect for Raekwon and Ghostface. The piano breakdown gives the drums room to breathe, and then the horns come back in, and DJ Dez’s scratches puts the icing on the cake. “Thug Procession” finds Info slicing a vocal sample over slight drum rolls and a heavy bass line. A few more standout cuts are “Margarita” and “Inner City Mexican” which solidifies his skill as a good producer. Once again, it sounds like Info has studied the history, and honed his craft. And, this savage ass beat tape proves it.
The motor city has a rich history when it comes to music. On top of that, there have been artists and labels who have changed the course of music in one way or another (Motown Records, Eminem, J Dilla). So you would think that’s a lot of pressure on artist coming out of that city trying to make a mark. Priest seems like an artist that is following his own spirit and not following the trends of right now. On his new release “Forever”, instead of drug induced lyrics and chants, he goes for a touching song about being with someone and not wanting it to end. “Imagine waking up to the love of your live. The fantasy, imagine you being husband and wife. Now imagine you looking for something with nothing but days that would seem to resemble troublesome nights. Want the happiness of the moment I’m in. Loving it as soon as the moment begins. Like a drug user emotions will spin, moving and losing my grip as soon as the moment ends” says Priest in a mellow mood over Byron The Aquarius’s thick bass line rhodes chords. Starr Busby sings deep in the background “Don’t go away from me” which rounds out the song. Being from Detroit, you would think pressure is mounting on Priest, but from hearing this songs, that pressure won’t be a problem at all.
As a New York City and international underground artist, Priest was born and raised in Detroit, and began sharpening his craft at the age of 8 or 9, studying the greats and mimicking styles to develop his own unique and incomparable style. Using such devices as poetry, storytelling and urban commentary, Priest paints the real and sometimes unfortunate narratives of inner-city violence and troubled love, complimented by the idea of reality and self-improvement. “You live your life, and there are results.”
Priest has been mentioned in such forums as AfroPunk, WordisBond, has opened for Apollo Brown & Skyzoo for the release of their album “The Easy Truth,” and has independently released 3 albums, and garnered 400,000+ plays for his last album entitled “Art of Urban Warfare.” He has also performed and shot a video in Paris, performed in London, Brussels and toured in Zurich, Switzerland performing at such venues as “Rap en Stadtpark” and “Rampe Open Air 2016”.
Usually when labels or artist put out compilations, it’s a hit or miss situation. When it misses, it’s just a loose collective of songs, that seems like they were just sitting in a vault. When it hits, it seems like a bunch of artist on the same accord, who all holds their weight (Ruff Ryders Vol. 1, Mean Green Compilation, Insomnia). This album hits the mark. The production is solid from their team and works well with John D. Contradiction and his team. One of the standout cuts “My Life” by Insyght is dope. Produced by A1 Dubbs puts together a chopped up electric piano with a faint accordion in the background, Insyght handles the track from there. ” So I’m fighting with all the life in me. Trying to do what’s right for me. Going harder than Harvard, I could have been in the Ivy league. Despite what you say about me, but I’ll amount to something. Like 28 grams on the scale is always an ounce or something.”
Another standout cut is “Blood Money Freestyle” by Ashley Bank$. Over a whimsical string section with glockenspiels provided by Azzazin, Ashley Bank$ throws concepts and ideas out the window and gives you bars. “Female rapper, got the balls and ego like I’m masculine. Shout out to my barber, keep my line up so immaculate. Bred to be famous, like I’m one of Joe Jackson’s kids. But, I don’t need the tabloids in my face, so keep ’em out of it. Keep on sleeping on me, like you ain’t know who the baddest is. Sweet dreams, I’m pouring gasoline on mattresses.” This is a solid project through and through. If John D. Contradiction can keep his collection of emcees and producers together, the music will only grow, and so will their fan base.
Louisville songwriter and lyricist WunTayk Timmy flexes his skills alongside longtime friend Bryson Tiller on the instantly-viral hit “Cake”, produced by NES. Tiller takes the lead with melodically infused bars, while WunTayk Timmy’s aggressive flow rounds out the track. Look out for WunTayk’s solo project coming soon!
“Who are you when nobody’s looking? Are you pretending to be who you’re not. This thing called life, is not black and white. I am just a human, trying to do what’s right”, sings a mellow Maka on her new single “Sinner”. Developing a following out of Lagos, Nigera, Maka’s new single sounds like something you remember from the past, but something from the future as well. Teck-Zilla gives a somber back drop with a fretless guitar and smooth rimshots that is just as cool as the song itself. Boogey finishes up the song with a stellar verse saying “Forever goes unnoticed, really when I made a deal with the devil, no one knows it. He’s telling me that I may get to Heaven, though, I’m hopeless. Try to hide it from God, but I know he watch. He just turns a blind eye like Fetty Wap”. This is a great song, and for Maka, this may open even more doors for her.
Vinny Virgo a very talented man from the west coast, sadly couldn’t find out anything about him but check out his dope track that he sent us awhile back
Boom Bap Hip Hop has stood the test of time. It’s the one constant staple in the genre. A few different sounds have made it’s mark, but no matter how bleak it looks at times, it’s always made it through. The wonderful thing about the sound is that, it’s Hip Hop stripped down to the bare minimum: Rhymes, A sample, and a drum loop. If it doesn’t do anything else, it can show how good an artist truly is, or expose their flaws because you don’t have much to rely on. “The Red Crow”, the new single off of Billy Hoyle412 and Moemaw Naedon’s new project “Travel Through” is a song that the emcee and production duo easily show how talented they are. Over a eerie string and guitar loop from Hoyle, Naedon spits “Bring your skills out it’s ’bout to be a tragedy. Like some fucked up construction on a balcony. Aye, yo, my rhyme spit venomous. The style mastered, crafted with the penmanship.” Pittsburgh definitely has a group to be proud of with this group.
About Billy Hoyle 412 and Moemaw Naedon
The entire album is produced by Billy Hoyle and is his first full on collaborative project. This is Naedon’s fourth project, but it will be the first where he is the main lyrical focus and features no other rappers.
Both hailing from Pittsburgh, Billy Hoyle was named one of the up and coming producers you should know by Jenesis magazine in 2014 and has released recent tracks with artists like Hubbs, Tayyib Ali, and Goldsmith. Moemaw Naedon is best known for his performances with his group Fortified PhonetX and his former projects, Circular Signals with The Latebloomer from New Jersey and the Galactic Brethren project with Brother Seamus from New Orleans, all a part of the Surface Level Records collective.
On Travel Through, Naedon and Billy’s styles combine forces to form a 9 track project that delivers a cohesive sonic journey through Naedons mindstate ranging from metaphysical visuals, substance use, tales of reincarnation and honest real life issues meshed with abstract lyricism over Billy’s spacey yet soulful production.