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Showing posts from October, 2018

Rapsody - "Sojourner" (feat. J. Cole) [prod. 9th Wonder]

There has been a lot of new music released throughout 2018. So much so that it's been, at times, difficult to keep up on who was dropping what and when it was hitting your favorite streaming service. And with the final quarter of '18 in full effect, it doesn't seem as though the wave of new releases is going to be slowing down.

To be honest, it's been a little overwhelming this year - the abundance of new records has resulted in an atmosphere that's made it harder than ever to let the music resonate and breathe. On the other hand, this environment has inadvertently created an arena where only the dopeness is able to prevail. The music has to really stand out if it hopes to get those necessary playbacks that allow listeners to truly appreciate the layered depth that exists within the confines of the lyrical content.

With that being said, I'm willing to bet the house on 9th's crew coming through with a project that not only stands out in regards to 2018 rele…

NIKO IS - "Meet Me in the Future" [prod. Thanks Joey] (Video)

A week ago, NIKO IS blessed fans with a glimpse into the future as he liberated the Thanks Joey-produced "Meet Me in the Future", offering listeners some highly anticipated insight as to what vibes might accompany his upcoming UNIKO project.

Now, NIKO brings viewers deep into the jungles of his homeland as he links with Talib Kweli and some visually stunning natives for his "Meet Me in the Future" visuals.

Filmed in Rio de Janeiro, NIKO's latest release juxtaposes shots of the Colours artist and the Javotti head living life in Brazil with vivid captures of NIKO journeying into the depths of the jungle to rendezvous with a breathtaking Goddess. Surrounded by the prolific greenery and reflective water, NIKO & ko. put on full display the reality of putting in the work and manifesting the life you desire. 

From my perspective, beyond the enchanting scenery and hypnotic sonic landscape, "Meet Me in the Future" showcases what is possible if you follow…

Andre Jakai - "Real" (feat. Vee Skeeno) [prod. Robb2B x RNE LM]

There are certain artists that shine so bright on their own but when they link up with their brother in arms, something special takes place. Maybe it's a different level of comfortability or a willingness to be more vulnerable, maybe it's the simple fact they are just able to have more fun working alongside the homie...

Whatever the reason, this is precisely what goes down whenever Andre Jakai and Vee Skeeno come together on wax.

As if they are pushing each other to reach their greatest versions, the music feels a little smoother and the product a little more well-rounded when Jakai and Skeeno collab.

And so we get the visual treatment for "Real", a joint that originally found life on Andre's 2018 release, From The Other Side. With content focusing on the confusion, personal journey and need for self-awareness that comes along with the roller coaster ride that is deciphering whether love is real, it's a fun juxtaposition to witness the two Hartford-based art…

AQMNI - "365" (feat. Carlo Pradi) [prod. Nish]

Man, when you hear the howl...

The wolf pack returns in the form of AQMNI with their latest cut, the Carlo Pradi-featured "365". With production from Nish, "365" does it's part to demonstrate exactly why Ty-HookZ and CrissB.amazing are the tag champs of this local rap game.

The two emcees take turns trading lyrically dense verses between Pradi's fresh hook, filling Nish's production with hard-hitting punchlines and mind bending wordplay. HookZ blunt delivery coupled with Bawrs' soulful and raw poetic flow results in a complete package that catches the listeners attention while leaving them fiending for more.

As 2018 inches closer to its finale, hopefully we find ourselves on the receiving end of more new music from AQMNI sooner rather than later.

Press play on "365" below.

WWE Evolution: Why You Should Be Watching

My earliest and happiest memories include watching wrestling. As a child, wrestling provided me an escape from the world around me. Whether I was getting lost in the stories being told on TV, creating my own storylines with action figures, or reading through wrestling magazines, I loved falling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole that was professional wrestling.

I started watching wrestling in the early '90s and I've been an avid fan ever since. With over 25 years of fandom behind me, the very real importance of WWE Evolution is not lost on me.

Tomorrow, for the first time ever, fans will witness an all-women's PPV. And no matter your thoughts on the actual card, it's vital that wrestling fans across the world tune in to experience - and support - WWE Evolution.

Throughout the majority of my lifetime, women were there for your sexual entertainment. That's not to say there were not incredibly gifted athletes in the WWF/E and in other promotions, but more often t…

Sylvan LaCue - "3:33" (Video)

Sylvan LaCue could have sat back after releasing one of the years top projects, choosing to simply rest on the accolades and acclaim that came along with Apologies in Advance. The album, which dropped in January, was critically praised and commercially heralded - on it's way to over 20 million streams, the independent release even caught the attention and courting of Roc Nation.

But rather than putting a dollar amount on an altered version of his dream, LaCue instead choose to focus his energy on the continued manifestation of his vision on his own terms.

As a fan, I'm grateful Sylvan LaCue has taken this path. While inking a deal with Hov's label may have served the narrative of a "fairy tale" rap saga, it would not have fit very well with the journey that has been LaCue's life and career. And it certainly would not have synced up with where his mental, emotional and spiritual self is seemingly at today.

I can vividly recall becoming quickly enamored with S…

Ty-HookZ - "FWM" [prod. Anu El Bey]

I remember once watching Ty-HookZ trade bars with an old head outside of a show in Rhode Island. Despite having years of experience on HookZ, Ty rapped circles around him - dropping punchline after punchline off the top while ol' bul went into his arsenal of prewritten rhymes.
Although, by then, I had been listening to Ty rap for a few years already, it was in that moment where it really hit me just how talented Ty-HookZ actually is. 
Whether dropping solo joints, cooking up mind expanding anthems with CrissB, or floating around with UZOO, the Hartford-based emcee has proven time and time again that he has a way with words. And "FWM" is no different, showcasing HookZ catch as catch can delivery as he fills the track with sharp witted quotables. Featuring production from Anu El Bey, Ty glides over the locally made instrumentation as he boastfully proclaims what most of his contemporaries already recognize as fact - it's not many out there who can fuck with him. 

NIKO IS - "Meet Me in the Future" [prod. Thanks Joey]

NIKO IS has a new album on the way so take a moment to send your praises to whatever Higher Power you believe in.

And then prepare yourself for the chilluminated ride that is "Meet Me in the Future", because NIKO's latest is an absolute trip. From start to finish - as he's been doing for as long as he's been hitting your ears with his art - the best hair in the biz proves once again just how good with the energy he actually is.

You would be hard pressed to find an artist in any genre of music that consistently comes through with such a cool, confident and smooth delivery. The world traveling and Florida-based NIKO has an unmatched ability to fill a track with content that is seemingly all over the place but somehow presented in such a clear and distinguished manner.

Switching up languages throughout the song, NIKO IS demonstrates exactly what he means when he proclaims that vibes don't lie. As you listen, even if you don't know what he's saying, the e…

OnCue - "Out of Town" [prod. MNYS & Matt Sim]

When OnCue dropped "Side Effects" earlier this month, he assured his fans he was back for good. Following the release of his second new record last night, Cuey's loyal fan base is surely at ease knowing the Connecticut-born and NYC-based artist is working hard to keep to his promise. 
"Out of Town" sounds like a well-deserved well-earned celebration of self, as OnCue floats over the light, almost meditative production that comes courtesy of MNYS and Matt Sim. With his pristine balance of soft, passionate crooning and lyrical delivery, Cuey blesses listeners with a record that feels like it could have come straight from a page in his diary. And he does so in a catchy, relatable and real manner, resulting in a final product that will leave you simultaneously lost in thought and vibing around the room. 
Throughout the new drop, OnCue reflects on growing through depression and coming out with a new sense of self-worth. As he's been doing over the course of his…

Locksmith - "Gimme A Sec" [prod. Decap] (Video)

It's a short list of artists who come through with the type of passion Locksmith brings forth in every release. Whether you dig into his days as a battle rapper or you focus on his flawless catalogue of full-lengths, the consistency of Lock's passionate delivery results in music that, time after time, strikes listeners in the deepest, darkest parts of their being.

No matter what subject matter Locksmith's content is focusing on, or where his aim is directed, the listener has little choice but to quite literally feel the music leaving the speakers. Word after word in bar after bar - and there is usually quite an abundance of bars - hits with a near indescribable force that leaves you deep in thought as the lyrics resonate within you.

Without fail, Locksmith keeps this reign going with his latest release, the sonically unparalleled and aesthetically captivating "Gimme A Sec".

Fans that have been anticipating new work from the wordsmith will undoubtedly be pleased …

Jack Larsen - "Ugly" (Video)

Just as YouTube was crashing last night, Jack Larsen was liberating the "Ugly" visual experience. As someone who does not believe in coincidence, there's certainly something rather poetic about the synchronicity of those two events.

Filmed throughout various locations in Illinois - and predominately in Chicago - Larsen's "Ugly" video serves as a consummate companion to the original audio. The self-directed release basks in it's low-budget feel, with the majority of the video appearing as though Jack simply set up a camera, hit record and began performing for no person other than himself. This atmosphere works in perfect union with the natural and graceful awkwardness of Larsen throughout the video.

Whether the viewer is witnessing Larsen dancing in his basement, running around the fields of a farm or hanging out a car window, there is an overwhelming sense of freedom, exploration and self-discovery present from the moment one hits play. Rather than run…

Vee Skeeno - "A Late Night Adventure" [prod. KingNamedTutt]

With the temperature dropping and cuffing season quickly approaching, it's only appropriate that Vee Skeeno comes through with a little anthem in honor of a late night rendezvous.

With production from KingNamedTutt, "A Light Night Adventure" takes listeners on a journey between Skeeno and an anonymous individual. Throughout the song, the Hartford native celebrates his partner in crime, highlighting all the reasons he keeps her by his side.

Unlike previous releases, "A Light Night Adventure" remains rather simple, with a noticeable absence of Skeeno's characteristically lyrical content and wordplay. Rather, Vee bounces around Tutt's instrumentation, focusing instead on simplistic storytelling. Without a heavy artillery of lyrical onslaught, Skeeno manages to successfully capture the listener's attention with catchy production and straightforward delivery.

"A Light Night Adventure" serves as the first release off Skeeno's forthcoming so…

Trevor Hall - "Moon / Sun" [dir. Jordan Taylor Wright] (Video)

The musical offerings of Trevor Hall entered my life with divine timing, serving as a blessing as I began my journey of consciously returning to the true essence of myself. While my path has taken many unexpected twists and turns along the way - as life seems to do - Hall's music has continued to bless me with guidance, thought-provoking meditations and a sonic backdrop as I venture both inward and outward.

Upon making the decision to record and release his latest album as an independent artist for the first time, Trevor turned to his fans - The Villagers - to manifest the completion of The Fruitful Darkness. After launching what would go down as the #1 music campaign on Kickstarter in 2017, Hall began releasing the new body of work in 4 parts, starting in September of 2017 and ending with the release of The Fruitful Darkness in its entirety on June 1st, 2018. Each installment of the album was released in correlation with a specific lunar date, a theme that would carry on to the …

King Leez - "Dead Presidents" [prod. Antwon Vinson] (Video)

One of Black Umbrella's best kept secrets just let loose an Instagram exclusive, making sure all his fans know he's got some new work on the way.

Shot in Paris by CestDouble. V, the full Antwon Vinson-produced "Dead Presidents" will feature Mac Dris. The preview is highlighted by Leez's sharp delivery and rapid flow, as the Mob makes moves throughout the Parisian night.

According to Leez, the record will find life on the upcoming Supreme Being 2, which will serve as the follow up to the Tacoma-based artist's 2016 project.

Catch the preview below and stay tuned for more from King Leez and Black Umbrella.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by King Leez #LeezySoprano (@1kingleez) on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:27pm PDT

Sol - "The Plug" [prod. Nima Skeemz & Teal Douville]

Seattle's Sol was the first artist I ever wrote about when I stepped into the blogosphere back in 2012. While a number of artists have popped up and either broken through to larger audiences or disappeared from the spotlight, Sol has remained consistently blessing his growing fan base with an onslaught of vibe heavy releases, always keeping the energy positive. 
Although his last album dropped in the spring of 2016, the stellar Headspace Traveler holds up today as a solid collection of thought provoking, introspective and mindful music. And now, following the release of his cinematic "If You Don't Call" visual experience earlier this year, Solzilla returns with a new loosie that certainly leaves his fans hopeful in their anticipation of another full-length from one of Seattle's best kept secrets. 
On "The Plug", Sol keeps his love-based philosophy but comes through with a flow more reflective of modern "mainstream" music - a little choppy in …

MURF - "WINSLOW" [prod. Accent] (Video)

I've been following the musical journey of MURF since 2013, shortly after ClaS!cK released their FLINGS project. In the roughly five years that have passed since that introduction, I can't recall any solo releases from MURF.

That all changes with the liberation of "WINSLOW".

Shot by Bklyn and directed by Joey Batts, "WINSLOW" masterfully expresses so much with an immensely minimalist approach. For nearly three minutes, viewers are exposed to images of MURF running - occasionally he glances back over his shoulder, sometimes we see him from the front and other times the video captures him from the back. That's it - scenic landscape and MURF running.

Because it's never revealed "what" MURF is running from, the door is left wide open for interpretation. Upon listening to the lyrical content and examining the overall tone of "WINSLOW", one may reach certain conclusions but the ambiguous ambiance that encompasses the entirety of the v…

Scola - "Movin' On Up" (feat. Zhero) [prod. Matthew Cyr]

A sure fire way to get me interested in checking out some new sounds is seeing Zhero featured on the track. And that's exactly what happened when Scola's "Movin' On Up" found its way to my timeline. 
Man, I'm happy I hit play on this one. 
The hypnotic bop of a record comes correct, coupling fun lyrical content with a wavy delivery from Scola. Between the wildly catchy chorus and Matthew Cyr's captivatingly simple and fun production, listeners are hooked as soon as "Movin' On Up" begins. Throw in the overwhelmingly positive energy present throughout the song, and I found myself unintentionally vibing around my room as the record played. 
Zhero's assist on "Movin' On Up" fits perfectly, switching up the tone of the song without altering the vibe. Witnessing the continuous growth of Zhero as an artist has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of my time covering music. Having watched his journey closely since he first start…

OnCue - "Side Effects" [prod. Mike Kuz]

OnCue just released new music so please excuse me while I stan out real quick...

We all have those select artists that have done more than entertain us with their music. While we may enjoy the catalogue they've released, their art has found a way to touch our souls and, in some cases, shape and/or save our lives. For me, OnCue is one of only a handful of artists that have really played this role in my own life.

I'll never forget the first time I heard OnCue. Having just finished up my sophomore year of college, I was still an infant in my musical discovery - being away at school had opened the doors on this beautifully vast musical space known as the underground. And I very quickly found myself falling deeper down the rabbit hole, spending countless hours checking out whatever hip-hop I could find that was different from what I'd hear in the dreaded "mainstream". While I no longer dread what's considered "mainstream", I fondly recall stumbling acro…

Vee Skeeno - "Moscow Freestyle" [prod. Fravo]

Vee Skeeno has been one of my favorite CT-based artists to follow since my ears were opened to the ever-growing spectrum of talent that exists within the state's borders. Whether he was rocking with The Voyagers, collabing with Andre Jakai or doing his solo thing, Skeeno has always come through with sharp lyricism that couples flawlessly with the enigmatic aura that emanates from within and around him. 
While most emcees come through with a heavy load of braggadocious content, Vee Skeeno does so in a way that carries with it a strong sense of believability. When he laces the production with "cocky" bars, it never feels as though he's doing it because it's a common hip-hop trope - rather, Skeeno knows and believes how talented he is. As a result of his actual talent and his self-confidence, the listener is even more prone to recognizing the gifted artistry that is Vee Skeeno. 
Making the music even more captivating is Skeeno's ability to juxtapose his arrogan…

Star BBY - "Philosopher's Stone" [prod. Idealism] (Video)

It appears from all fronts that the reincarnation of Star BBY in his current form is resulting in positive manifestations for the artist and his fans. After the release of the stellar "Star Stuntin'" visuals and the 6-track Elric EP, Star BBY is back with yet another liberated gem from the vault. For his latest release, "Philosopher's Stone" - one of the records that lives on Elric - receives the visual treatment. 
For those that don't know, the philosopher's stone represents the driving goal behind ancient alchemy - turning simple metals to gold or silver. Also commonly referred to as the elixir of life, the substance was believed to bring about rejuvenation and immortality. The stone played a pivotal role in Fullmetal Alchemist,which Elric was heavily influenced by.  
The slow, vibey "Philosopher's Stone" picks up sonically where "Star Stuntin'" left off, leading viewers to believe this new style of creation and delive…