These “Best of” are like clock work. The second I put one out, I feel like I’m already compiling the music from our writers for the next month. Well, have no fear, June is here. Throw this on for your July 4th celebrations, and be sure to come check out our July 2015 edition in a few weeks!
Hazey is from Hamilton. His government name is Michael Hill. He almost reminds me of Frank Leone, but other than that stretch of a comparison, his sound is completely his own. There is this tinge of reggae or something to his music. I can’t pinpoint it exactly. Look out for his HypeLove project in August.
What you know about a hypelove song?
Stream and download my second favorite track by Hazey.
Are you ready for some 50 Shades of High Rule? Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but High Rule’s latest release, “Control,” gives off that dark-alley, touchy-feely, lets get freaky vibe. So kind of like 50 Shades reversed minus the highly explicit material. This is a complete flip of their style from the past three releases and it’s evident. However, the catchy chorus streak continues! I’m still bumping “Thirsty,” but that’s going to have to make some room for this one. Sharing is caring, ya know?
Sam Sloan is a rapper-singer-producer from Hamilton, Canada. His sound falls somewhere in between Bobby Raps and Matt Champion. Every vocal piece is processed through the sweet chill of auto-tune, and every song has an overarching concept. The music Sloan makes never sounds forced. It sounds like it was made with the purpose to understand a piece of himself, and listeners feed off that. We feed off the scabs ripped open by the creation of a great tune and revere the resulting scars. Sam Sloan has a lot of scars, and we are very grateful he chooses to share them with us.
Two Weeks Vacation is the debut album by Beach Jesus, who were introduced on Sunset last week. The album plays through like a Jackson Pollock painting. Through its nine tracks, the beauty of disorder is explored. Parts of these songs are broad strokes of effortless crooning, and others are splashes of rhythm and rapping. The sounds are electric, and the content is eccentric. More questions are asked than answered, and that is okay because the wonder is in the asking.
Now, I just got to ask for a download link.
Earlier today I called Madison, Wisconsin a hip-hop city on the rise. Another guy from there with massive potential is Trapo. The 17-year-old rapper has one of those rare, distinctive voices. It almost sounds like D.R.A.M. mixed with Isaiah Rashad and Chance The Rapper. What makes his songs so fun to listen to is his approach to songwriting seems so fluid. His voice will undulate within the highs and lows of the beat. He will attack and retreat and continue to do so until you are singing and rapping along with him.
I’m tryna hurt somebody right now, it’s a killing season
We have referred to Milwaukee, Wisconsin as one of most surprising, eclectic hip-hop hotspots in the country. Well, it turns out Madison, Wisconsin is on the rise, too. I don’t know what they are eating in Wisconsin (cheese?), but it’s working to create rappers left, right, and center. One of these guys is Ra’$haun (born Ra’Shaun Randle), and today is his birthday.
“June 28th” is a short track at under two minutes long, but it serves as an ideal introduction. The song is a living, breathing organism, and the lyrics are delivered like a heartbeat pounding off the parchment. Every word is important and weighed down by the welcome burden of passion and perspective.
It’s hard to see the bigger picture with the filter still on
Below is my other favorite track by the Madison rapper.
This past December we introduced you to Sean Leon. Since then, the Ajax, Ontario rapper has been kept busy with his newborn daughter, awesomely named Xylo, and the creation of his highly anticipated album Black Sheep Nirvana.
Today he dropped “81,” inspired by Kobe Bryant’s godly 81 point performance against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. The Eestbound-produced track is two minutes in the desert heat on the set of a Tarantino film. It sounds like summer in Las Vegas, featuring the same “ratchet brilliance” that first drew us to Leon.
I love the fact that he does not lose his sound when he works with other producers. This sounds like a Sean Leon joint through and through. It fits right into his body of work, and that, I believe, is the mark of a truly original artist and one of the most promising rappers in the Toronto area.
Stream Leon’s other recent loosie “This Ain’t 2012,” in which he says the hardest thing an independent rapper could probably ever say:
That’s why they sound like my sound, they really like my shit / It’s like I write they shit, I need the rights and shit.
Beach Jesus is a group of four friends from Chicago, consisting of producers JAROFMY and SEER and vocalists Chandler London and Jessiath. They have a sound so unique and completely their own that they could probably get a patent on it. They call it “dream-hop,” a transcendent listening experience where the boundaries of genre are blissfully ignored and your favorite indie band occasionally raps.
Below are my favorite tracks released so far by the collective. Their debut project Two Weeks Vacation will be dropping any day now.
I think I am going to need to prelude this writeup by saying that I do not pop xannies and do not condone the abuse of prescription medication. The purpose of this tape is simply to highlight a growing trend in rap music. It is not surprising that the effects of the 21st century prescription drug culture has trickled into the rap scene, and I would argue that much like Wiz Khalifa makes certifiably dank weed rap, artists like Lucki Eck$ and Jimmy Prime (formerly Jimmy Johnson) make “xanny rap.” As you will notice, the mix is not all rap music. I tried to space out the journey and the rewards of hearing some of the trippiest rap music being made (Also, “Lilly” by Toro y Moi is a wave). If you’re an impatient bastard, tracks 11 through 14 show the heart of the phenomena.
When I’m off all these bars I should be behind some bars
*SoundCloud mix is missing track 6 (“Lilly” by toro y moi)
As Jon Tanners has said probably too many times over at Pigeons & Planes, Milwaukee has become the country’s most surprising hip-hop hub. “Cream City” is responsible for some of the nation’s most promising, young rappers, such as WebsterX, Mic Kellogg, Bliss & Alice, and this guy BANKX.
BANKX is 16 years old, but as we have learned recently with the growing number of high school age rappers on the Internet, age is just a number. What is impressive about BANKX is his consistency. He has three tracks to his name, and they all have a consistent sound. He is not just trying to land a SoundCloud hit by any means necessary. He seems cognizant of the bigger picture and the benefits of being consistent. His sound lies somewhere between Travi$ Scott and Jimmy Prime. With the right development, he can carve out his own space in this industry. Three of the right steps are below for your listening pleasure.
Chester Watson is a rapper and producer who is only 18 years old and has at least 3 years of experience under his belt. He is the leader of Nü Age Syndicate, a creative collective based out of Florida, where Watson was born. Recently, I have been playing “Museums” from his recent Summer Mirage EP for my friends, and every time I get asked, “Who is this?.” Now, if you understand the politics of music delivery via the aux cord, then you know that a song has to be pretty fucking great to be asked “Who is this?,” the highest order compliment available to an unknown track. “Museums” wouldn’t sound particularly out of place on Earl Sweatshirt‘s new album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. Then again, it sounds right at home on Watson’s own brooding masterpiece the Summer Mirage EP, which you can stream below.
Stream the rest of Chester Watson’s Summer Mirage EP below, and buy it here.