2,036 posts by

Seamus Fay

Boston-based music fiend.

2,036 posts by

Seamus Fay

Most Recent Posts

A Beginner’s Guide To NYC Sample Drill

By Seamus Fay // 10 May 2021

Sampling isn’t a new thing, and it surely isn’t new to hip-hop. In the 90s, during what some would consider the “golden age” of hip-hop, producers were flipping the soul records they grew up with into cutting edge rap records. But as time went on and hip-hop grew, the laws surrounding the use of other artists’ music for sampling grew increasingly restrictive, and the connections and money needed to successfully clear samples partially closed that window for smaller, independent artists. As a result, some producers even made it a point to make sample-free music, reflective of the general attitude toward the arduous process and legal implications of sample-clearing. There’s a new sound taking over New York right now, though, unconcerned with any of this. A wave of sample-based production is happening all over the city, pairing classic songs of all genres with NYC’s omnipresent drill sound – a lethal combination of hard-nosed drum patterns and soaring 808s with colorful arrays of samples, from rock songs to soul songs and everything in between. Artists are ignoring the “red tape” of sample clearance and releasing new music at breakneck speed, encouraging others to do the same. As a result, an entire world of sound …

In My Zone – [Smiley]

By Seamus Fay // 3 May 2021

Ever since hearing “Body” via 6ixBuzz (a platform that I highly recommend checking out if you’re looking for an entry point into Toronto’s rap scene), I’ve been hooked on Toronto artist Smiley. In music and on social media, Smiley is a massively compelling personality, offering a brand of individualistic, Toronto-bred style that can’t be imitated. He’s one of a kind in every way, which is highlighted in the rising talent’s latest song and video, “In My Zone.” Structured around a bed of ominous melodies and trunk-rattling drums, “In My Zone” is the kind of in-your-face release that perfectly captures the two-sided appeal of Smiley. On one hand, he matches the aggressive tone of the production with paced flows and memorable songwriting, hard-nosed in an effortless way. On the other hand, he balances this out with typical Smiley style, almost sing-songy in his deliveries and driven by the oddball sense of charisma that made me a fan in the first place. Finding the sweet spot between the two sides, Smiley separates himself from the rest, and brings unapologetic Toronto energy to the table in a massively exciting way, almost reminiscent of what Peewee Longway has been able to do as such …

Premiere: HAKEEM – [2219 Lee] ft. [Mali Smith] [Cash Cobain]

By Seamus Fay // 29 Apr 2021

In accordance with the rise of social media as the predominant way for artists to promote their work, the snippet game has become crucial in building an audience. Post 20 seconds of an unreleased song – the most quotable part, the part when the beat drops, etc. – and if it’s captivating and brief enough, people will want to hear more. When done right, snippets create demand, which was exactly the case when this snippet from 2219 Lee, Mali Smith, and Cash Cobain caught my ear on Instagram. Hailing from New York, all three artists are part of a collective called MHPG SOUND, which is characterized by its “SOUND OR DROWN” slogan. The group has built out a style that’s buzzing around New York right now, especially seen in Cash Cobain’s recent growth with cosigns from Drake via IG live and Lil Yachty, to name a few. MHPG’s latest release, “HAKEEM,” is the group’s best work to date. Built on the simple-yet-effective foundation of an ominous melody and hard-nosed drill percussion, “HAKEEM” is the kind of straight-forward release, packed with signature New York charisma and quotable lyrics, that cements the excitement around such a promising collective of talent. With lines like “Cash Cobain …

Bad For Press – [Van Buren Records]

By Seamus Fay // 26 Apr 2021

As a Massachusetts native, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Brockton, MA supergroup Van Buren Records develop over the years, both individually and as a group. To say the least, every name in the crew has put in the work several times over. They’ve explored different sounds, figured out what feels right, put things out, gone back to the drawing board, practiced, and ultimately, found a sweet spot that speaks for itself in the form of their outstanding debut project, Bad For Press. 13 tracks long, Bad For Press is a massively focused effort – no easy feat when you’re a group trying to bring so many different voices, personalities, and styles into the same space, especially when done with such grace and fluidity. Each track feels like a step further into the world of Van Buren, which is especially important considering the group’s Brockton, MA roots (I’ve written about this before, but when you come from a place like Brockton that isn’t nationally known for music, it’s commendable to embrace those roots and make the effort in bringing listeners to Brockton.) Working on this basis of shared experience and chemistry, the group carves out an illustrious world of sound, cohesive in …

Draco – [HVN]

By Seamus Fay // 21 Apr 2021

Entering the rap conversation with his 2020 project Welcome to Heaven, Houston artist HVN has been on the rise for a little over a year now. In the past 8 or so months alone, he’s received cosigned from names including Virgil Abloh, Taco Bennett, Zack Bia, Kevin Abstract, and more, while Taco actually appeared in HVN’s fall 2020 music video for “Demon.” Day by day, the momentum surrounding the Houston native has only increased, which leads us to his latest act – a brand new song and video by the name of “Draco.” Complete with an A$AP Nast skit and directed by Trey Lyons – who also did the “Demon” music video – the one-two, song-and-video punch of “Draco” makes it a head-turning release, rallying around the seemingly endless supply of energy injected into the song. Houston producer Broadday sets the backdrop with fast-paced, thunderous production, and HVN ties the song together with breezy flows and a number of quotable lines, all building on the world that his catalog has created thus far. It’s still early on for HVN, but with “Draco” out now and a new project on the way in the coming months, it’s starting to feel like Houston’s own …

MuddyMya: If It’s Meant To Happen, It Will

By Seamus Fay // 6 Apr 2021

Cover Photo By @dumoarles MuddyMya started releasing music a little over a year ago to date without much expectation. In her words, “I just make songs and post them.” Today, the Atlanta native has become a buzzing name in the underground, recently putting out some of her best work to date in the form of “Cashin Out” — a single produced by CashCache and MexikoDro, headed by lyrics including my personal favorite: “Life I never planned it out, but look how things are panning out.” Speaking to Mya, she places large emphasis on the fact that her success thus far has arrived without much expectation – she works at her craft, makes the best music she can make, and lets the universe do the rest. And the universe has certainly been responding. With numerous cultural cosigns to her name, a fast-growing fanbase, and a singular, masked aesthetic, Mya is doing things on her own terms and garnering authentic, well-deserved acclaim for it. No over-stretching herself or asking favors – just genuine support on true-to-self music and a world-building creative vision. 6 months ago, she worked for Target at a job she hated. Today, Mya is fully focused on music, with the …

Big Bank – [Marjety] [Xhulooo]

By Seamus Fay // 5 Apr 2021

A while back, I featured an artist by the name of Xhulooo on our pages with the melodic drill song “xoxo.” In the months since, I’ve kept a close eye on the tight-knit community surrounding the rising talent, which has led me to one of my favorite recent discoveries: Marjety, and his new single “Big Bank” alongside Xhulooo, himself. Two and a half minutes in length, “Big Bank” is bright and melodic as can be, following a rollercoaster of 808s and sun-soaked melodies with a barrage of money-minded lyrics. Marjety sets the bar of energy high to kick off the song, and Xhulooo comes in with the second verse, matching this energy and proving the two to be a dynamic duo in the making. The chemistry is there, the song is massively exciting, and all in all, “Big Bank” is a deeply enjoyable listen, tied together with lyrics so catchy that they beg you to listen back. Marjety is one of the most exciting new talents I’ve come across, and “Big Bank” is a colorful display of the potential that he holds. Be sure to check this one out at the link below: Produced by Iankon Marjety(@marjety) · Big Bank …

Blood – [Rex Nendo]

By Seamus Fay // 5 Apr 2021

South Carolina artist RexNendo first caught my attention about a month ago, when I randomly caught a snippet of his music video for “Blood” on Instagram. It was cool on first listen, and even cooler on second listen, but I didn’t think too much of it. Fast forward a few days, and the hook of the song had cemented itself in my head, pushing me to revisit RexNendo and the wildly infectious track “Blood” nearly every day since. Only getting better with each visit, slow-burning songs like this one are some of my favorites. “Blood” works around an airy, almost ethereal bed of production – slightly understated, but infectious in every sense of the word. RexNendo’s controlled, melodic deliveries tie the song together, and offer a masterful supply of quote-worthy lines in the process — most notably shown through the song’s hook, which, if you’re anything like me, is sure to get stuck in your head sooner or later. As fantastic as the song is, what helps take “Blood” to the next level, in my opinion, is the matching set of visuals here, capturing Nendo waving a gun with a female friend in the front yard of a random neighborhood …