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Showing posts from January, 2019

Ceschi - "Say No More" [prod. Factor Chandelier] (Video)

Last week, Ceschi liberated the first release off his upcoming Sad, Fat Luck album and today the Factor Chandelier-produced "Say No More" comes to life with the official visual treatment. Directed by Andy McAlpine, the video offers a wild ride that beautifully captures the overarching tone of the track itself.

Filmed in Amsterdam while Ceschi was wandering aimlessly "during a limbo stage in [his] life", "Say No More" utilizes brusque animation to showcase the chaotic frame of mind the New Haven-based artist was experiencing as a result of the many factors addressed throughout the record. With black and white images of Amsterdam's anatomy behind him, Ceschi is armed only with his guitar as he purges the unsettling turmoil from the depths of his being. While the realism is juxtaposed tumultuously with the animation, the viewer is able to experience the disturbing level of crossover that exists within our own lives. We're left with little choice but…

MANSIONS - "HOURGLASS"

I leave my inbox open to any artist that wants to send over their work. I'm always on the lookout for new music to write about and I've found the best way to discover new sounds is to actually have the chance to build with the artist directly. But, to be as transparent as possible, I wish more artists took the opportunity to Swantom Bomb into my messages.

You never know what you're going to get when random artists are sending over their music - to say it's hit or miss is an understatement. That said, it was a lovely surprise to get a DM from MANSIONS and then find two new joints from the artist awaiting me in my inbox. After hitting play on "HOURGLASS", I was instantly hooked on the chill energy brought forth by the Oklahoma-by-way-of-Hawaii-based artist.

MANSIONS is quite literally floating over the self-produced record with a metronome-like delivery, his content coming forth as if it was the sand falling through an actual hourglass. Filling the new release…

Raz Simone - "Hurting Painters" (Video)

With a new album available everywhere tomorrow, Raz Simone wraps up his Still Love roll-out with the release of a brand new visual experience. Showcasing the unique artistic vision Simone possesses, the Jacob Hill-shot "Hurting Painters" features a visual backdrop that some may feel is contrary to the content presented in the song itself. However, upon deeper examination, the juxtaposing energies work together magnificently to orchestrate a dialogue concerning the relationship between love, race/racism and the lifestyle some individuals live in order to rise from the systematically implemented inequality.

"Hurting Painters" manages to bring forth commentary on important subject matter, tying the main focuses together while also speaking on how these factors impact - and hurt - the individual(s) who find themselves labeled and judged simply based on their "cover". It's a stirring presentation that does not limit it's reach to black/white, as Simon…

Murf n Rudy - "ION WANNA" (Demo)

Although it's just a demo, "ION WANNA" serves as our first taste of new music from ClaS!cKMurf n Rudy in quite some time. Both artists have been busy exploring other sonic outlets, as well as dealing with the highs and lows of their own lives. But, man, when these two come together they always cook up something special.

"ION WANNA" is a smooth and soulful experience, the lyrical content housed within the ambient instrumentation. Listeners are initially struck by Rudy's raw vocals, the emotion behind his words coming through the speakers and creeping into the feels of those who press play. And then we find ourselves on the receiving end of Murf's powerful delivery as he lifts the song with reflective and motivating wordplay. "ION WANNA" finds easy connection with it's audience thanks to the relatable content, the final product working to take the listener on a journey into their own psyche, traveling through their lives and emotions with M…

Ryan Charles - "POPA WHEELY" (feat. Sam Lachow) [prod. Kase Closed]

Ryan Charles calls for the assist from Sam Lachow, cooking up a full-blown Seattle affair on his latest release. The Kase Closed-produced "POPA WHEELY" is nothing short of a bop, as the two artists take turns riding the vibrant, lightly trap-infused instrumentation, exchanging verses in between some fun crooning.

Ryan and Sam step up with juxtaposing deliveries on "POPA WHEELY", resulting in an aberrant record that's as fun as it is mind-bending. You'll find yourself running this joint back a few times to capture the rapid fire quips both artists let off throughout the new release - it's not an absurdly lyrical track, but Charles and Lachow mask the depth of their content beneath the enticingly off-center energy present throughout "POPA WHEELY".

Press play below.

dylAn - "Clarity (Zedd Cover)"

The enigmatic dylAn comes through today with a unique spin on Zedd's "Clarity", covering the song with a far more sullen energy than the Foxes-featured original. Clocking in at just over a minute and a half, Capital A fills his rendition of "Clarity" with omnipresent dreariness, his crooning emerging from the depths of his physical.

It's undoubtedly eccentric and certainly worth the quick listen, especially considering there's no telling how long he'll let it live online.

Press play below.

Locksmith - Freestyle (DJ Kay Slay)

Man, what in the actual fuck can even be said about this onslaught Locksmith brought to DJ Kay Slay and Shade 45?

Refusing to let the flu keep him subdued, Lock emerged from his hotel room to absolutely destroy any preconceived notion you may have regarding who's top 5 dead or alive. 'Cause, my brothers and sisters, if you don't recognize the pure lyricism that is Locksmith, then you gotta get your ears, eyes and mind checked.

I'm writing this at a loss for words and, quite frankly, there isn't much that needs to be addressed as the Richmond, LA-based emcee spends ten minutes filling the instrumental with socially aware references masked as hard hitting bars. It's the gospel according to Lock; a textbook on what hip-hop as the potential to be. Unabashed, abrasive and mordant in his delivery, Locksmith once again demonstrates how capable he is to consciously go off - dude can write songs and dude can rap. This freestyle is just another example in the ever-growi…

Chanel - 'Uncovered' (Stream)

My introduction to Chanel came a couple weeks back when I caught a preview of "Freestyle" on a friend's timeline. The raw confidence present in Chanel's smooth delivery throughout the joint captured my attention and I've been looking forward to peeping her debut project in hopes of gaining a more in-depth feel for what she's bringing to the table.

The release of Uncovered does a beautiful job highlighting Chanel's still untapped potential, as the 8-track mixtape slaps from the moment you press play. Uncovered is littered with sharp lyricism, leaving no doubt that Chanel is slick with the pen, but the most alluring characteristic on display is the emcee's spectrum-spanning range. More than just self-assured bars, listeners receive a variety of content that finds a balance between her lyrical onslaught and her songwriting capabilities. As the lyricism lays the foundation, Chanel crafts stories around her words, painting pictures of love, street smarts,…

Factor Chandelier - "Lives An Ocean" (feat. Taylor Jade) (Video)

There has been a growing debate regarding the credit owed to - or deserved by - the artists responsible for producing tracks. Some argue producers deserve their just due while others contend the vocals are what make a song blow up. But, man, when you listen to something like "Lives An Ocean", I think the debate becomes obsolete.

Of course, the record lives on Factor Chandelier'sWisdom Teeth, so the producer is obviously going to receive his props for this one. However, "Lives An Ocean" showcases the importance and significance of both the production and the vocals. You could listen to just the instrumentation or an acapella featuring only Taylor Jade's voice, and be taken on a uniquely expansive journey guided by the sonic pull of your heartstrings.

Fortunately, the two are overlapped and we are blessed  to experience the chill-inducing beauty that is "Lives An Ocean".

Together, Factor's sullen and sorrowful production dances seductively with…

Sylvan LaCue - "Love & Sacrifice" (Video)

As the one year anniversary of Apologies in Advance nears, Sylvan LaCue reflects on and celebrates all the work, blessings, love and sacrifice that was his 2018 with the release of the Jonathan Benavente-directed "Love & Sacrifice" visual.

Upon the release of Apologies in Advance last January, the stars began to truly align for the Florida-based wordsmith. If you're a newer fan, I highly suggest digging into his extensive back catalogue to gain a deeper understanding of LaCue's history. As an avid listener of his music since 2009, it was such a pleasure to experience watching the progression of his career over the last 12 months. Perhaps more than any other artist in 2018, witnessing LaCue receive the long overdue - but perfectly timed - praise and spotlight filled me with joy.

But this isn't about me - it's about the next chapter in the lifelong journey of one Sylvan LaCue. And with his latest release, Sylvan utilizes the Apologies in Advance cut to off…

King Leez - "Up To Me" [prod. Antwon Vinson] (Video)

King Leez comes through swinging for the fences, kicking off 2019 with the lyrically dense "Up To Me". Delivering his vivid content with a fiery yet collected onslaught of bars, Leez laces Antwon Vinson's relaxed instrumentation with from-the-heart prose. Throughout the new single, the Black Umbrella affiliate pulls no punches, painting pictures of his resilience as he thrives through the ups and downs of day to day life.

Press play on the Yap Films-shot "Up To Me" visual below.

Mike Posner - "Move On" (Video)

Mike Posner has been battling with the cost of fame his whole career, dipping in and out of the public spotlight as the burden of success and stardom weighed heavy on his shoulders. After taking time away between albums, the Detroit-based artist returned in 2015/2016 with new music that displayed the inner dissonance in a new light. Listening to At Night, Alone, Posner's second full-length, was like the waves beginning to crash - one got a vivid sense of the troubles Posner was dealing with internally, and it was clear he was searching for a light to guide him through the darkness, but the "worst" was yet to come.

On Friday, January 18th, Mike Posner will be releasing A Real Good Kid, celebrating his third album by walking across America, from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Pacific. The journey will take approximately nine months, perhaps not so subtly referencing the new album as a symbol of Posner's rebirth.

As "Move On" puts on display, in the tw…

Janine - "Wow." (Post Malone Cover)

I've never been heavy into the musical offerings of Post Malone but I'm certainly here for this rendition of "Wow." that dropped courtesy of Janine. The rework of Post's single features Janine tweaking the lyrics slightly as her overlapping vocals dance upon the poppin' instrumentation, adding an airy depth to the original record.

Emanating with confidence, Janine's "Wow." is a nice little bop to get you vibin' throughout the rest of the week. Hopefully this drop and the recent "We Can Do Better" visual are signs that the New Zealand-born, LA-based artist has some new music in the works.

Janine's 99 is available now on all major streaming platforms. Press play on "Wow." below.

Ceschi - "Say No More" [prod. Factor Chandelier]

A lot of people wear their egos on their sleeves to the point it becomes comical. But when a humble man begins speaking with the energy Ceschi has been rocking lately, that's when you know it's time to shut up and listen. And, after experiencing all the highs and lows life has thrown at him over the course of the last four years, the New Haven-based artist has a few things he's ready to get off his chest.

This is a blessing for all those who love his music, as Ceschi is preparing to release Sad, Fat Luck, his first full-length project since 2015's Broken Bone Ballads. With the Factor Chandelier-produced album on the way, Ceschi kicks off 2019 with the liberation of "Say No More", the first single off Sad, Fat Luck.

And fuck.

On "Say No More", Ceschi finds a way to radiate through the dark tone of the record thanks to the pure, authentic emotion saturating the song. Composed following the arrest, and subsequent 10-year mandatory minimum sentencing, …

Quinn XCII - "Tough" (feat. Noah Kahan) (Video)

Quinn XCII continues the rollout of his forthcoming From Michigan With Love album with the release of the Noah Kahan-featured "Tough" music video. And what an important visual - and sonic - experience "Tough" is.

Utilizing a pristine, thought-provoking balance of humor and reality, the Detroit-born Quinn presents vital commentary on incredibly important subject matter - toughness and toxic masculinity. Throughout the Drew Kirsch-directed "Tough", Quinn is witnessing or experiencing various forms of bullying while lyrically breaking down the driving force behind the venomous energy on display. 

Fueled by societal conditioning that's inevitably coupled with a refusal to face one's inner darkness, countless individuals mask their emotions with toxic behavior - in this case, bullying and physical representations of "toughness". As Quinn so elegantly points out, there is nothing "tough" or "strong" about acting out or li…

Ian Matthew - "Ashtray" (Video)

Ian Matthew liberated "Ashtray" in December and now the CT-based artist is back with the official visual treatment.

The Zachary Greaton-directed video captures the raw emotion that encapsulates those sleepless nights saturated with overthinking and reflection. As the digital clock progresses closer to sunrise, the 27s fill the ashtray while Ian laces the smooth instrumentation with his well-blended crooning/rap delivery.

"Ashtray" is available now on all major streaming platforms. Press play on the video below.

KOTA The Friend - "CAMP" (Video)

I may be arriving late to the party, but I'm grateful to have stumbled upon KOTA The Friend while searching for new music this afternoon. Immediately captivated by the unique energy KOTA brings forth, I've enjoyed my trip down the rabbit hole of his catalogue thus far, finding a well juxtaposed balance of a laid back demeanor with the pure, relatable content he presents.

"CAMP" serves as an ode to KOTA's team, with the Brooklyn-based artist paying tribute to the people who have stayed true while he worked on his come-up. Over the course of the self-aware record, KOTA also expresses his gratitude for the shady people who have "stabbed [him] in the back", showcasing a mature outlook on life's experiences and lessons. He's able to reflect on where he came from and send gratitude up for where he's made it thus far. And, as vibration and energy work, this state of mind will only serve to bring more blessings into his life.

With a simple and melo…

Fatal Lucciauno - "Free My Bros" [prod. HunnidK Servo] (Video)

Fatal Lucciauno serves up some jarring statistics as he calls for his brothers' freedom on the latest visual drop off the Black Umbrella artist's Kalito. Throughout the video, Lucciauno questions the true intentions of the justice system, touching on the corruption, racial disparity and lack of actual justice that exists both inside and outside of the physical cells.

The Lamar Mapp-directed visual begins with old footage of Nino Bamm, one of Fatal's brothers, performing at a show, before revealing Bamm is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence. As the video continues, viewers discover that Lucciauno has four brothers locked up or awaiting trial. Fatal managed to survive and beat the prison system but, in doing so, he gained firsthand knowledge of the inhumane conditions and foul play that exists within the confines of the courts and prisons.

"Free My Bros" features Lucciauno floating over HunnidK Servo's light, airy and whimsical instrumentation with a s…

Noname - "Song 31" (feat. Phoelix)

Noname mesmerized fans and critics alike with the release of Room 25, showcasing the talent that lies within her spirit and physical vessel. Throughout the album, the Chicago-based artist filled the whimsical production with smoothly delivered catch-as-catch-can lyricism and irresistible melodies, proving to all those who questioned her skill set that, indeed, Noname could rap. It came as no surprise to anyone who pressed play on the 11-track project that Room 25 found it's proper placement on most everyone's EotY lists.

As the album is still in the midst of receiving playbacks and praise, Noname started off the next trip around the sun by liberating a new loosie in the form of "Song 31".

With the new release, Noname continues to exhibit the vastness of her poetry, littering the record with layered content; the bars that make up the song containing immense depth and substance. While so much of Noname's music - and music in general - comes from a place of pain an…

Janine - "We Could Be Better" (Video)

Janine has been making serene waves with her music over the course of the last few years, releasing a couple electrifying EPs before finally liberating her full-length debut on Atlantic Records in 2018. With a genre-blending style that finds a quintessential balance of R&B, hip-hop and pure song, the New Zealand-born and LA-based songstress is able to enthrall listeners with her intoxicating vocal range and raw, powerful songwriting.

Her latest release sees Janine returning to the 2015 XXEP, as she intimately displays the uninhibited power of her voice while providing listeners with a quick acapella version of "We Could Be Better". The seductively brief video will undoubtedly leave viewers longing for the full version, which is available here.

Janine's 99 is available now on all major streaming platforms. Press play on her "We Could Be Better" acapella below.

Grieves - "Let It Through" (Video)

In September, Grieves liberated new music for the first time since releasing his Running Wild album in 2017 and now the Rhymesayers Entertainment artist comes through with the official visual treatment for "Let It Through".

The single denotes both the artistic range of Grieves and the personal growth and self-discovery the wordsmith has been experiencing over the course of his journey here in the physical. Packed with relaxed melodies and a calmly delivered labyrinth of wordplay, the sentimental "Let It Through" is presented with a composed, collected and self-aware delivery. Grieves is experiencing a state of acceptance, finding peace with what is rather than attempting to swim against the current of life. 

Throughout the record, one gets a sense that Grieves is learning from - and growing through - the chaos that has encapsulated and shaped his life. It's vital to recognize the importance of documenting the destruction if one desires to showcase the beauty …

Locksmith - "Rederik" [prod. Decap] (Video)

While ALI finds itself becoming a last minute addition to everyone's EotY lists, Locksmith kicks down the door of the New Year with his bewitching and enthralling "Rederik" visuals.

The Jesse Ray Diamond-directed "Rederik" appears so simple on the surface, housing the entirety of the video in what seems to be an abandoned lot. But Lock's latest drop quickly takes a twist, as the camera shots and angles begin to dip, duck, dive and dodge while the Richmond-based emcee takes on a variety of roles. There's fast moving, layered and chopped imagery taking place throughout the video, adding a flashy element to "Rederik" without the use of fancy lighting or any bells and whistles.

Lacing the enigmatic, Decap-provided production with his self-assured and blunt delivery, "Rederik" is vintage Locksmith. It's abrasive, poignant in content, and it hits hard from start to finish. He may not get the mainstream shine other artists do, but pres…

Raz Simone - "Forever Don't Last" (Video)

Raz Simone ended 2018 with his Christmas themed "Santa Claus" but he's quickly returning to the Still Love saga for his first release of 2019.

With the new album on the way, Simone uses "Forever Don't Last" to provide listeners with another perspective of love, adding to the growing spectrum he has presented thus far with "Dancing With My Heart" and "Isn't Love". Continuing to use his personal experiences and lessons to his advantage, Raz has been able to vividly portray varying expressions of love, demonstrating the powerful capability of love to come forth in countless forms.

Love is beautiful, confusing, inspiring, motivating, painful and so much more. It has the ability to lift you up and break you down. For that reason, you have to stay mindful and be aware of the presence of love in your life - and be careful not to mistake real love for an illusion of love.

On "Forever Don't Last", Simone is utilizing the tradit…

Jobo - 'BearGod EP II' (Stream)

After releasing a couple visuals featuring previews of two tracks late last year, Jobo has liberated his BearGod EP II. The 5-track EP, which clocks in at around 15 minutes, includes the full versions of "Last Gods" and "Warning Bite", as well as three brand new records.

With his last project dropping nearly three years ago, BearGod EP II not only marks the return of Jobo's solo content but also showcases the growth in the Hartford-based artist's pen game. Although he's always shown up with quick-witted lyricism, the latest effort is highlighted with razor-edged quips and pop-culture heavy punchlines.

It can certainly be argued that the nonchalant nature of Jobo's release, and his in-and-out of the spotlight demeanor, may work against him. However, rather than hype up a project and bombard people with an abundance of music, Jobo has always made the calculated effort to allow the music to speak for itself. BearGod EP II, like the majority of his pro…

ender toi - "closer"

LA-based artist ender toi welcomes in the New Year with the release of "closer", a wondrously moving ballad that is as sonically pleasing as it is chill inducing. The song features toi's soft, calming vocals coupled with soothing harmonizing, both of which dance upon the elegantly understated instrumentation.

According to toi, "closer" is a song he composed a year ago and will not serve as a single. Regardless, I'm grateful he liberated the track for our listening pleasure. For those looking for more from toi, head to Apple Music or Spotify to stream his latest single, "Love".

Enjoy "closer" below.

Bklyn Lo - "CTown Freestyle" [prod. CTown] (Video)

Bklyn Lo kicks off the new year with a simple yet visually stunning video for his "CTown Freestyle", which was originally released back in September. Keeping it low-key, the Hartford-based emcee recites his sharp bars while roaming around the city streets, illuminated only by the lights above. 

Production comes courtesy of CTown, while Detelj handles the filming and editing. Speaking of which, Mike is getting pretty slick with that camera, huh?

After releasing a few loosies throughout 2018, as well as linking with RUDY and Joey Batts for ROY G. BV II, hopefully this visual drop so early in the year is a sign of a prosperous 2019 for Bklyn. 

Bklyn's last project, Canvas, is available now on all major streaming platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify. Press play on "CTown Freestyle" below.