We can all agree that the best part of going to the movies is seeing the previews, right? And the best part of the previews is when you see that preview with a super stacked cast, right? What about when you get a super stacked cast on a song? I remember when a remix of Travis Barker’s “Forever” dropped and it had Drake, Kanye, Weezy and Eminem and I lost my shit. (Straight talk – I’d cut Drake and replace him with Kendrick, but beggars can’t be choosers.)
So Hoodie, Kyle and Blackbear just dropped a song together. AND they’re about to go on a tour together. That in itself is exciting, but what I dig even more about it is that they’re collaborating on a song, which likely means during the tour they’ll all perform together, which is one of my favorite things to see. (Straight talk again – headliners should always bring their opener out for a collaboration – people love that! And it’s respectful. Do more of that.) So shout out to Hoodie for doing that.
Get yourself out to a show – should be a super energetic performance by three dudes who pour their hearts and souls into their music. Hit the jump for more information on the tour and song lyrics.
I’m semi-famous, kinda aint shit, kinda sorta like almost made it, it’s like I went from star in the making to “oh yeah him, yeah I hope he makes it,” when the hell did all that begin?
Chicago MC Prez Harris knows who he is, and he wants you to do the same on his new single, “Just Do Me.” The track is a testament to originality over imitation, featuring sharp verses from Harris, as well as Thaddeus Tukes and Devin 2xx. The track is equal parts banger and empowerment anthem, a balancing act that isn’t always easy to pull off.
Over a booming, trap-tinged instrumental from Detrakz, the three MCs trade bars about the grind and artificiality. Their distinct flows compliment each other well, with Tukes’ dense, knotty lyrics playing well off of Harris’ smoother, effortless delivery.
For more of Harris’ music check out his State of the Union mixtape that dropped earlier this year.
With any significant shift in technology comes a learning curve. In our generation the big shifts in technology have been smartphones and the web. I think in 2015 artists are on the brink of fully understanding how to effectively use these technologies and how to carve out lanes for themselves in an oversaturated online music universe.
The most beautiful thing about music in 2015 is that there is something for everyone. The sheer volume of music on SoundCloud alone is overwhelming to imagine. To simplify things let’s separate artists into two categories: those concerned about quantity and those concerned about quality. The quantity group uploads faux freestyles over ripped YouTube instrumentals of the latest street hits, hoping someone important will notice them. This exhibits very short-range thinking. GOOD Music president Che Pope called this type of music “disposable music” at an RBMA lecture in Paris. The quality group, on the other hand, is a slave to their vision. They have an idea, they record their idea, they perfect their idea, they have their idea mixed and mastered properly, and they collaborate with a designer on a piece of artwork that visually represents their auditory idea. This exhibits the understanding I mentioned earlier, and I am seeing more and more artists tending to the quality of releases over the quantity. Mic Kellogg is one such artist.
Over the past year Mic has methodically released singles from his debut project Breakfast. Each single garnered a breakfast-themed cover and usually an accompanying post on Pigeons & Planes. This September Mic released the conceptual Breakfast LP and further proved that he was an artist of substance and thought. In order to kill the mystique of great art, we asked him to breakdown our favorite tracks from the project and give us insight into the making of Breakfast.
I have a weird confession. I had not heard the “LA Girl” part of “Robocop” until I saw clips of Kanye’s recent live performance of 808s & Heartbreak on YouTube. I don’t know how this happened. I must have downloaded an unfinished version of “Robocop” from LimeWire when it leaked and never replaced it with the finished version! For years I have been unaware of one of the most beautiful album interludes of all time by my favorite artist of all time.
To make up for it and way overcompensate for that prior gap in knowledge, I made a mixtape inspired by “LA Girl.” It continues to highlight the recent upward trend of California-inspired art à la Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto, The Weeknd’s “The Hills,” and this past July’s Tape Tuesday The Hills Have Eyes.
Goin’ up in L.A., girl I know what you’re used to / Don’t worry ’bout a thing, we can just keep it simple
NOTE: The SoundCloud mix is missing track 13 (“Daddy Issues” by The Neighbourhood).
Oakland MC J.Lately is stressed. His new single, the moody, soulful “Breathe” is about finding relief, dealing with tough situations and appreciating life. Don’t worry though, the track never veers into preachiness, since he’s too talented a rapper to have a song like this come off as fake.
Over a dark, percussion-driven instrumental from producer Oops, J.Lately vents about the frustrations in his life, showcasing his skillful flow and sharp lyricism.
“They can think what they want I’m just thinking ahead/Ain’t that hard to get lost all these things in my head/All these places I’m going and women on tour/But I sleep on the floor, watchu think of my bed?” he muses on the opening verse.
Shark Sinatra drops some strong guest bars that give the track another perspective, touching on weighty issues like money and mortality.
The video perfectly captures the song’s core essence. Alternating between dizzying, quick-panning shots of J.Lately, Sinatra and a few women engaging in empty excess in a hotel room and wide open shots of the two MCs in a gorgeous, open desert, it expands on the ideas of “Breathe” without getting carried away.
Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and the cold air is filling our souls. This combination of things calls for a dose of chill and mesmerizing music. Luckily, ScienZe is ready to give hip-hop fans a little bit of this coolness with his newest track “Decatur”. This Brooklyn-based artist may not be known by everyone yet, but he has an undeniable style that will leave an impression. “Decatur” may not have the craziest hot beat, but it’s a gem on its own. It’s an honest and raw piece that can be easily appreciated. Check out the tune below and look out for ScienZe’s newest mixtape #GeorgiaTape out this month.
If you’re reading this, it’s not too late. Halloweekend is winding down, and we set back our clocks an hour today. Plus, on top of that, I got this playlist for you that you’ll love filled with vets, such as, Chance The Rapper, Kygo, Skizzy Mars, and new comers with Kamau, Stephen, & Feki. Check out the playlist below, and let us know what your favorites are!
One of the biggest laments in journalism is that you can never get a sense of personality over the phone. That’s true for a lot of people, but not fast-rising 22-year-old MC Kyle, whose sheer attitude and energy ooze through even a quick chat while he hustles to a meeting in Los Angeles.
He pauses in the middle of answers to comment on a man who has parked himself in front of an automatic door, and goes off on a tangent when I ask him what flavor of chips he’s just purchased. But at no point does this come off as the Ventura, CA rapper being unengaged with the interview, he answers every question thoughtfully and deliberately, even as he weaves through clots of foot traffic.
His earnestness and ability to jump from subject to subject are two of the things that have helped Kyle grow a large, rabid fan base, all of whom are currently blasting his second LP, Smyle, on repeat. With thousands eagerly anticipating the follow-up to his rollicking 2013 debut, Beautiful Loser, Kyle said he did feel more pressure stepping back in the booth.
“I felt more expectation to actually try and say something. I felt more burden to make something that had a little more emotional effect on people. It wasn’t just about Kyle having fun anymore,” he confessed.
That sense of responsibility manifested itself in a more mature, and occasionally darker record, that goes places that his free-spirited first release didn’t touch on. The production is bigger, more varied and anthemic, while Kyle’s bars are sharper overall. Fortunately though, they’re not devoid of the sarcasm and wit that makes him so unique.
“I wanted to switch it up a lot, I wanted to be dynamic,” he explained. “There’s a lot of albums, especially ones right now, where they find a good formula like, ‘If I do this, I add these trap drums to this type of thing it’s gonna be a good song.’ And then they choose to make the same song 13 times with a slightly different topic.”
Smyle is most certainly not that type of record. Even when the tracks don’t entirely come together, you can’t help but applaud Kyle for stretching himself as an artist and not sticking to the electronic-influenced, synth-heavy sound that got him his first taste of fame.
“Even if I’m better at making a ‘Don’t Wanna Fall in Love’ than an ‘All Alright,’ I’m gonna try and do it because life is dynamic,” said the rapper.
Kyle’s gameness is one of his strongest qualities as a musician, and played a huge role in how one of Smyle’s biggest tracks came together. He first met Chance the Rapper while opening for the Chicago MC in Santa Barbara, and the two quickly became friends. It was during a late night studio session with producer Nate Fox, a member of Chance’s Social Experiment band, that single “Remember Me” came into the world.
“Nate came over to my house one time. It was one of those perfect dream type situations, where all the stars aligned. I’m sitting there working on a song with Nate and he looks up at me and says, ‘Chano’s here.’ I was like, ‘What? Really? In Skid Row at 3AM?’ And Chance was like, ‘You know what, I got something for this song…’ It wasn’t the typical, play a beat, write a verse songwriting. We really connected on the project.”
Over a bluesy, piano-powered instrumental, Chance croaks out the cigarette-stained hook, giving Kyle free rein to assess fickle relationships through the lens of his newfound fame. The candor and wit are expected at this point, but they’re used in new and exciting ways. Even though “Remember Me” is a somber record, it is a tremendous accomplishment for an MC establishing his footing.
Despite all of this, Kyle still has to deal with being branded as a “pop rapper” for his upbeat sound. While he’s not angry about it, he’s quick to make it known that that kind of shorthand simply misses the mark.
“Everybody wants to label something…but me I want to express all avenues, all the shit I was influenced by,” he said. “I have made a pop song, I’m not a pop artist. I’ve made a boom-bap song, I’m not a boom-bap rapper. I’m a rapper, singer, dancer, dude, artist, that just makes music.”
Nov. 1 @ Reggie’s Rock Club (Chicago, IL)
Nov. 3 @ The Studio at Webster Hall (New York, NY)
Nov. 5 @ Vinyl (Atlanta, GA)
Nov. 7 @ Fitzgerald’s (Houston, TX)
Nov. 10 @ The New Parish (Oakland, CA)
Nov. 28 @ The Majestic Ventura Theater (Ventura, CA)
Ace Henderson is a 21-year-old rapper from Raleigh, North Carolina. The self-produced “Buck!” is the first single from Henderson’s upcoming album #ANALOGYOUTH : Yesterday is Over. The song is a battle cry, as Henderson offers hard takes on nightlife, institutional racism, and that girl who keeps messing with all the wrong dudes.
Ace Henderson is an artist who has been working and steadily improving for a few years now. I am really excited for this upcoming #AYYO project to be a huge breakthrough for him.
They say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice, but I think the blacker the berry, the tighter the noose
A delightful new song from Snakehips, Tinashe and Chance The Rapper called “All My Friends” was just gifted to the world, and I’m here to confess my love to it. Every piece of it is beautiful: the production by Snakehips, the lyrics and message by Tinashe and Chance, and of course the sweet, sweet sounds of Tinashe and Chance’s voices. Give me more of these three, please.
Hit the jump to read full lyrics.
When it comes to grime, not too many artists have been making the kind of noise Lethal Bizzle and Stormzy have lately, and “Dude” is just the kind of collaboration you’d expect from the pair. Stormzy couldn’t be hotter coming off Wickedskengman 4, and Lethal Bizzle is right there with him with 5 straight chart hits and “Fester Skank” only barely in the rear view.
Bizzle starts off with some top shelf verses, the kind that he first drew me in with over “Don’t Run It Up”, and glides effortlessly over another audacious beat from Diztortion, the producer of “Fester Skank” as well. The through ball to Stormzy was executed exactly as I had imagined over the past few months, and Stormzy brings the record home with even more skill than the last time we heard from him. The Problem indeed.
“Dude” is available for pre-order right now, and you can check the video here:
If you take some of the world’s most influential thinkhouses (Pixar, DONDA, Tesla) and ask yourself what they all have in common, two concepts will come to mind: hard work and collaboration (also, risk taking). While many of us are staunch supporters of these brands, only a few actually follow the blueprint of ideation left by, for example, Kanye’s post-Yeezus interview spree. Jon Waltz is one of the few.
The Memphis rapper/singer has taken great care in the making of his upcoming Anna EP. In doing so, he assembled a team of some of the most talented young people in music (Romil, Tebs, Alex Siber, Joba). The title track from the EP is a 3-minute glimpse into a kaleidoscope found on the ground of Coachella that is mysteriously labeled “love.” It is a fluid depiction of young romance that is constantly moving forward, as background vocals from Joba and Taeghan Hagood help fill-in black spaces of the painting.