This mix is inspired by the wonderful Netflix original series Stranger Things and my growing concern that we might be living in its Upside Down World in light of the domestic shootings, international terrorism, and triumphs of Donald Trump in recent months. The mix also features my favorite songs of the past month, so naturally, it leans toward the more optimistic side–more DNC than RNC, if you will.
There are a few political tracks in the beginning. Then, it dips back into the epic love story consistent with most of my mixes (and most music, for that matter). In Stranger Things terms, the first half is fighting the Demogorgon. The second half is the Jonathan-Nancy storyline.
Spoiler alert: Who else was upset that Nancy got back with Steve? Smh, Steve is a tool.
What you gon’ do now that the summer’s over?
Even Allday, Australia’s preeminent left-field druggie rap-singer, isn’t immune to the Toronto influence. His latest single, “Sides,” clearly has some northern sensibility with its ominous synth beat and NYNE doing a pretty decent Weeknd impression on the hook.
“Sides” is the rapper’s first track since his Startup Cult record dropped in 2015, and it has us realizing just what we’ve been missing over the last 10-plus months.
That album cemented him as a master at walking the line between pop rap and something woozier and darker. The chorus here is Views-level catchy, and Allday’s verses have some serious bite, similar to “Right Now,” another surefire banger that was a highlight of Startup.
All in all, “Sides” is proof that Allday remains in mid-season form.
NOVA has long been known as a one of the premier young producers in the game (some of you may remember him as one of the initial Jon Waltz collaborators). For the past year and a half, NOVA has been releasing solo tracks featuring his own vocals. His songs continue rap and R&B’s current modus operandi of extending the range and possibilities of autotuned vocals. It is not a particularly unique sound; NOVA just does it better. It helps that he is his own producer. These four tracks flourish in the pockets where NOVA flexes his production chops, adding depth and detail to otherwise ordinary moments. This EP is the result of years of experience in imagining sounds and executing songwriting ideas.
Download 19 here via a PayPal donation to NOVA’s mom.
Zoe Cartier is an autotune architect from New Orleans who floats over beats and has likely had intimate relations with your girl. Her newest mixtape Enfant Sauvage (that’s French for “wild child”) is a focused, career-altering testimony on sex, drugs, and general savagery.
LA transplants the KnowMads were featured on Sunset back in 2012 as they were riding the groundswell of Seattle hip hop hype that catapulted Macklemore into mass consciousness. While the duo hasn’t quite hit the FM airwaves as hard, they have built a steady grass-roots following that has continued to support them as they uprooted to Los Angeles. The change of scenery is reflected in their latest LP, Knew School, which features some of their most accessible tunes yet.
We have the pleasure of premiering their newest single “Freshman Year” whose summery piano laden beat is complimented by the boys heartfelt high school nostalgia; painting a vivid and compelling picture of how hip hop shaped their formative years.
High Rule feeds the ears of music with “No Filter,” a witty, and playful take on pop culture in our society. While not my favorite from the Chicago based duo, High Rule still stays true to their unique sound, and as a result, it’s still something to mess with. This acts as the second single off of their debut EP, In Real Life.
We’ve officially reached the halfway point of 2016. We’ve heard from Chance The Rapper, Drake, Kanye West, Rihanna, and plenty more. However, we still have yet to hear from Frank Ocean. This upsets me, but we’re getting close. He teased his release a few days ago. In the meantime, the SunsetFam has put together one hell of a playlist for you to vibe out to with our favorite cuts (so far). Follow the playlist on Spotify, and we can’t wait to let you know our favorites from 2016 in December!
Greatness lies in innovation. While the idea of dousing one’s voice in autotune isn’t exactly groundbreaking in rap music, the execution of the idea is how “Monster Truck” turns the corner into new territory. The song works so well in part due to Allday‘s detached delivery. What may seem lazy is actually smart and enticing, as the Aussie rapper slurs pronunciations and nonchalantly drops ending syllables of words. This is candid late night listening for the young and misguided.
Might rip my organs out just for the money
Buy a monster truck, go roll over your mummy
Why I always think about my ex when I’m fucking?
Why I always thinking bout rain when it’s sunny?
RELATED: Read our 2015 interview with Allday where we discuss his stint as a stand-up comedian, his advice for independent artists, and his recent EP Soft Grunge Love Rap.
Candor is a concept emphasized in Creativity, Inc., a fascinating book written by Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull where he dissects the standards and practices that make Pixar a creatively rich work environment. Catmull posits that candor is “the key to collaborating effectively.” One way of ensuring candor from collaborators is by taking the power to enact change on a project completely away from the one doing the constructive criticizing. In other words, the people offering advice on your project have no say over what changes are implemented. The original content creator maintains full creative control over their work. Candor also requires an openness from the person receiving the criticism. Remember: they are critiquing the work, not you as a person. Ideally, the people offering their candid suggestions are creative problem solvers whom you respect.
Expanding this idea, I would argue that relationships are a form of collaboration, and therefore, candor is essential in any healthy relationship (romantic or platonic). This requires an openness from both people. The problem is that we don’t talk to each other’s faces anymore. We talk to our phones. It is often much easier to chuck your phone in disgust and never respond to someone than actually face an unsavory text head-on. The artists on this tape do not mince their words. It begins with Kelechi offering sage advice on “Advice,” works its way into some mysterious singer feeling sexual on NEIKED‘s “Sexual,” and finally, Brad Bonds avoids getting too involved on “Too Involved.”
Girl you crazy like Harley Quinn, I’m just joking babe, you a ten
Note: This is basically a Tape Tuesday, which is a feature I ended two months ago. The main distinction is that there is no “free download” option, out of consideration for the artists. That is something that wasn’t sitting right with me and felt unfair to the mostly independent musicians being showcased. More generally, music consumerism is shifting away from downloads and ownership into the exciting (and scary!) realm of cloud streaming services. Also, now I have the surprisingly liberating freedom of putting out SoundCloud playlists on any day of the week — not just Tuesdays.
Mallrat is a 17-year-old rapper and singer from Brisbane, Australia. I became aware of Mallrat after her widely heralded debut single “Suicide Blonde” appeared on triple j Unearthed. The content and a bit of the delivery reminded me of fellow Aussie rapper Allday, who Mallrat often cites as a major inspiration.
Since then, her sound has gradually become more refined. Her delivery is distinguishably more poppy. On “Sunglasses” (below), she’s like a rapping Lorde, which is cool, but ”Inside Voices” seems like the first purely Mallrat song. It features the ideal balance between making you want to dance at your desk at work and relating to the content of the song. I mean, who hasn’t felt strangely alone during a night out?
All three songs will appear on the Uninvited EP, which will be released on July 1st via teamtrick and Create Control. The EP will include three additional tracks that hopefully will highlight the continuing development of this young talent.
Uninvited EP Tracklist:
- Tokyo Drift
- Inside Voices
- Suicide Blonde
- For Real
Everyone talks nicely but I don’t think they like me / ‘Cause when they go out, they never invite me
J∆YLIEN (a.k.a. Jaylien Wesley) is an LA-based artist originally from St. Louis, Missouri. Early in his career as a way to support his daughter, he worked behind-the-scenes, songwriting and producing for major artists like Akon, LL Cool J, and Chris Brown. Given the opportunity, however, he always wanted to start his own thing. In 2013, he partnered with director Stephen Garnett to create the imprint BlessAndSee and actually developed recent G.O.O.D. Music signee Kacy Hill. Finally last year, Wesley kicked off his solo career and scored looks from major music publications.
I first heard J∆YLIEN’s music in February of this year. I really liked “We Fcuk” and “Little Bit of You” (posted below), but his most recent single “All My Friends” pushed me over the edge. Maybe it’s because the track reminds me of Nostalgia, ULTRA-era Frank Ocean. Or maybe I can just relate to the annual FOMO felt during Coachella — especially this year when A$AP Rocky brought out Kanye as mentioned in the song. Either way with three solid solo tracks under his belt, J∆YLIEN is an artist to watch in 2016.
All my friends are at Coachella and I wish that I was there too
A key influence of Lil Wayne and Lil B is the method by which they would release large quantities of music per year. This idea feeds the mutualistic relationship between fans and artists. Fans benefit with a constant stream of new music from their favorite artists, and artists benefit by staying relevant and having a freedom to experiment with free releases.
For new fans, however, it can be quite daunting to familiarize yourself with an artist with 6 or 7 releases already under their belt. This is why I have made a sampler of my favorite songs by Chicago rapper, producer, and engineer Supa Bwe whose career I have followed closely since discovering Hurt Everybody in 2014. I sequenced the playlist, so these one-off songs and EP tracks make some semblance of sense together. It actually turned out pretty well and gives insight into Supa’s development over the years and also his strange consistency considering the experimental nature of many of his songs.