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Showing posts from September, 2018

BROCKHAMPTON - iridescence (Album)

In 2013, before they had emerged from the constraints of the simulation, I had the opportunity to interview a few artists who were - at the time - proud members of an artistic collective that was beginning to gain a little bit of notoriety. With over 40 members, the collective was the epitome of DIY - creating completely in-house, despite being scattered all around the globe. 
You know...because the internet. 
In one of those interviews, Kevin Abstract spoke on bringing an audience into the world they were creating, stating:
"The thing is, I see [us] as a powerhouse within the next few years. The music we are making right now is important in all honesty. It just needs to reach people...people will connect once they really understand."
Five years ago, there was a vision - beyond simply being famous artists - to create a multi-media conglomerate...One that would change the world through music, video, images and unmatched personality and energy. 
A lot has changed since those i…

Raz Simone - "Hatred" (Video)

More surprising than Raz already hyping up the release of his next album is the fact we're finally getting visuals off his most recent project. And while Drive Theory is full of tracks that could seemingly result in cinematic short films, I'm sure Simone has plenty of reasons he's been laying low since the release of the 12-track LP. 
Regardless, Drive Theory still goes. And another album is on the way. So, Raz fans, rest easy knowing the Black Umbrella CEO has you covered. 
"Hatred" serves as the first visual experience to find life off Simone's August release, Drive Theory. The record is noteworthy for the absence of a hook, instead featuring the passionate and poetic delivery from Raz that so many have grown accustomed to over the years. With no catchy chorus to distract the listener, every word is able to strike a chord and resonate at it's fullest potential. As is the case with any of the content Simone releases, no lyric and no bar feels as though …

Jack Larsen - "Ugly"

I love me some rap music but I'm a sucker for chillingly smooth vocals, so Jack Larsen's "Ugly" was a welcome surprise as I journeyed down the slippery slope that is SoundCloud in search of new music.

With synth-heavy production that teeters on the verge of pop, Larsen glides through the sonic backdrop, filling the canvas with punctuated, interspersed delivery. The Chicago-based artist makes full use of the three minute run-time, coupling the instrumentation's highs and lows with his voice, majestically setting a prominent vibe over the course of "Ugly".

"Ugly" serves as the first release from Larsen since Push-Ups, his debut EP released via Closed Sessions. While I'm new to the sounds of Larsen, it's quite apparent the artist is willing to push his creative boundaries, unafraid of experimenting with his sound in order to grow and progress artistically. It doesn't take more than a quick listen through Push-Ups and a few streams of…

Roy Blair - "Happy" (Video)

Sometimes, you show up late to the party. And even though you know you've missed out on quite a bit of fun between kick off and when you arrived, you're still happy to have finally shown up.

Roy Blair is that party.

Man, have I been missing out on something special. But I'm so grateful to have found my way to the dance. As the old cliche goes, better late than never - and I'm not sure there could have been a better way to become acquainted with this artist than "Happy".

If I were commenting on YouTube, I'd say something like, "Natalie Green brought me here." A longtime fan of everything Green touches, I somehow missed out on the signs leading me to Blair. Fortunately, the stars would align and some pre-release tweets in regards to "Happy" found their way to my timeline. And so I became intrigued, which lead me down the rabbit hole of research - I watched some older videos, listened to Cat Heaven, browsed some interviews and features..…

Zhero - "Hellp" [prod. Matthew Cyr]

Zhero popped up again recently with his assist on the smooth Jordan Daniel cut "Midnight", and now he's back with his first solo drop since January of this year.

"Hellp" is a somber affair, featuring sully but self-aware trill from Zhero. Released with the subtitle "an expression from Zhero", the new track offers listeners a glimpse into Zhero's emotional state of mind as he mourningly reflects on a tumultuous and apparently severed relationship with an unknown subject.

Produced by Matthew Cyr, "Hellp" takes the sorrowful pain Zhero is experiencing and leaves it quavering through those who encounter the song.

Hit play below to experience the feels.

Bklyn Lo - "The Color Purple"

Bklyn Lo dropped off a quick joint last month and today the emcee is back with "The Color Purple", the first taste of what is hopefully a full collection of new music from the CT-based artist.

Throughout the track, Bklyn presents an equilibrium of confidence and gratitude, delivering a reflective prose but doing so while in the now. If you've ever heard a record from Bklyn, you know dude can rap, filling most tracks with rapid fire quotables. On "The Color Purple", however, listeners are on the receiving end of a delicate balance of lyricism and a more melodic delivery. As a result, the new loosie fits well as a single, with it's ability to appeal to a wider audience.

Like a body serves as a vessel for the soul, the production on "The Color Purple" provides Bklyn with the physical house his substance needs to breath and live. For both the lyrics and the catchy, contagious chorus, the instrumentation encapsulates Bklyn's content.

Preview "…

NIKO IS - "The Never Ending Sky" [prod. N Z M]

In an industry littered with trend followers, clout chasers and industry planted cookie cutter illusions, NIKO IS has been a breath of fresh, tropical hair air since the release of GOOD BLOODin 2014. Having caught the attention and, more importantly, the respect of hip-hop OG Talib Kweli, it was all but a forgone conclusion that NIKO was destined for greatness. Fans and foes of Kweli need not look far to recognize his list of co-signed artists that have taken the world by storm - a list that includes but is not limited to Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar.

Couple this co-sign with the even more important work ethic and chilluminated state of mind possessed by NIKO, and you're left with a top-shelf recipe for success.

Having blessed his fans with BRUTUS in 2015, the Colours of the Culture representative has been working on his follow-up project for a few years now. For NIKO, patience is clearly a virtue - the Brazil-born and Florida-based artist recognizing that his life and career ar…

Review: Ryan Bibisi - 'No Place' (Art Series)

Connecticut-based artist Ryan Bibisi took one of his favorite albums - A Lot Like Birds' 2013 release, No Place - and created a unique graphic for each track. While the band's original concept for the album was a sonic representation of various rooms within the same house, Bibisi presents his own interpretation throughout the series using a line from every song to construct ten unique structures.

1.) "In Trances"

Much like the album itself, Bibisi's No Place series begins with a calm introduction. There is nothing noticeably special about this house - it is your average looking home, rather plain and uninviting. From my perspective, this initial piece is a well done representation of most people's train of thought in regards to their own home. We become so accustomed to "home" that we don't view it as significantly special or noteworthy - even if we cherish it, it is just "home" to us, normalized in every way due to the amount of time …

Stream: Star BBY - 'Elric (It Costs an Arm and a Leg)' (EP)

With "Star Stuntin'" still resonating on my daily playlist, Star BBY comes through with a collection of tracks he cooked up while presumably working on his upcoming project. The 6-track Elric, which draws heavy inspiration from the 'Fullmetal Alchemist' manga,features production from Bassti, Tusken, Idealism, Eugene Cam, Saiko and Kupla. 
Throughout the tape, the production provides listeners with an easy going foundation to journey upon, as Star BBY laces jazzy instrumentation with precision, painting vivid imagery with his storytelling lyrics. As his sonic experimentation carries on, the CT-based artist continues to find a new balance of "rapping" and laying vocals, combining the two into a smooth, crooning lyricism. 
Elric does not sound like "Star Stuntin'", which leaves me anticipating his forthcoming project even more. As described by Star BBY himself, Elric contains a series of songs he created while "reaching for something.&qu…

Sam Lachow - "Albino Rhino" (feat. Nacho Picasso) [prod. Paranoid Afterparty] (Video)

As fans eagerly anticipate his next full-length project, Sam Lachow drops off some aesthetically enchanting visuals for a cut off the Seattle-by way of-NY artist's Motels & Minivans EP.

Lachow and Nacho Picasso take turns looking inward while contemplating the effects of their environment as they trade bars on the Paranoid Afterparty-produced "Albino Rhino". The back and forth delivery allows the track to feel even more high paced and cluttered, capturing the essence of cocaine use well. Representative of where they are at in their respective journeys, neither artist glorifies drug use, although they remain honest in their personal depiction of the experiences they've had both in using and sobering up.

Visually stimulating, the Lachow and Andrew Imanaka-directed video highlights the dichotomy of a cocaine-infused nightlife. Thanks to Noah Samsen's edits, the visual experience is fun and more than slightly trippy, but viewers see first hand the depleting and …

Bklyn Lo - "CTown Freestyle" [prod. CTown]

Following a stupefyingly crafted video for "UNTLD", Bklyn Lo continues to prove he's one of CT's best kept secrets with the recently released "CTown Freestyle". Although clocking in teasingly short at just under a minute and a half, the CTown-produced track will have you running the record back a few times over to catch every poignant statement being made.  
If you're looking to get your fix of Bklyn tunes while you wait for more new music, the wordsmith's Canvas project has found it's way to all major streaming platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify
Enjoy "CTown Freestyle" below. 

Star BBY - "Star Stuntin'" [prod. Killer Mantis] (Video)

I'll get to the actual product in a minute but Star BBY's (f.k.a. Sloth) "Star Stuntin'" video has me deep in my feelings, reflecting on some collective journeys.

When I first started writing about music, there was a select group of artists from CT who I was fortunate enough to build relationships with. Although I covered a wide range of artists, in CT and beyond the state borders, I would be lying if I did not admit that this handful of talent always stood out to me as the top-shelf representation of what Connecticut had to offer. And this was highlighted by the frequent shows and outpouring of content that was coming from them.

Of course, as time passed and life took it's course, the closeness of this group and my personal relationship with some of them faded. But watching "Star Stuntin'" had me thinking back to four or five years ago, when I was first introduced to the majority of these artists I'm speaking on. And, as the memories came …