Hallelujah – [Yung Baby Tate]

By Mike del Ro // 21 Jul 2019

Yung Baby Tate’s life has been the definition of stunting as of late: the rising Atlanta artist just dropped her ‘GIRLS Deluxe’ album, lit up the stage at our very own Summer Smash, and got the attention of none other than Nicki Minaj for her melodic take on “Megatron”. Now, Tate takes a bow for herself and takes aim at anyone trying to hold her back from greatness on “Hallelujah”. Over a bombastic self-produced beat, Tate comes through with her signature carefree demeanor and sets it ablaze with scalding verses that recount her latest successes. Her disses come wrapped in a deceiving layer of sweetness, sending shots with unsuspecting, mischievous delivery. She then puts a declarative end to the track with a monologue warning others to stay out of her business. “Spread some love, let me live and let me win,” she pleads. But with how things are going for Yung Baby Tate, it seems like she’s gonna keep winning regardless.

19 – [Family Reunion]

By Mike del Ro // 19 Jul 2019

Every new Family Reunion release feels like a deeper dive into the mind of songwriter Jackie Carlson—and the rising Chicago-based indie artist’s latest track is no exception. On “19”, Carlson gives listeners a genuine moment of rumination on mistakes made and lessons learned over delicately plucked guitar and choral harmonies. It’s difficult to gain perspective on a part of one’s life while still living through it, but it feels like Carlson attains this sort of “in the moment” reflection through her blunt lyricism. “Made a lot of mistakes when I turned 19” she sings before airing out harsh realities that come with coming of age, following passions, and bouts of loneliness. Her voice tiptoes a line between composed and fragile, on the verge of breaking as she maneuvers through tender vocal runs. Building the track alongside Carlson’s introspective songwriting are producers Camline and Son! who supply moral support in the form of a rumbling bassline and a guitar solo that wraps the track up with a fuzzy, reassuring riff. Listen to “19” by Family Reunion and check out her upcoming LA and Chicago shows here.

Feelings – [Cuco]

By Mike del Ro // 16 Jul 2019

Rising star Cuco has just shared a new music video for his single “Feelings”. The video comes ahead of his first major-label project ‘Para Mi’, which comes out July 26 via Interscope. Bringing the song’s psychedelic sound to life, Cuco finds himself in an old secluded mansion haunted by hallucinations. The track’s psychedelic production gets interpreted into equally trippy effects as Cuco sulks alone, yearning for someone to hear him out. “Feelings” is the third single off ‘Para Mi’, along with the songs “Bossa No Sé” and “Hydrocodone”. Going off what Cuco has released from the album thus far, it seems fans could expect more of the entrancing lo-fi love songs that the west coast artist has become known for. With that said, though, there’s no doubt Cuco’s sound has grown and expanded over the course of the last three hears—and the dizzying, daydreamy “Feelings” is a shining example of his evolution.

Kelly Summers – [Lasalle Grandeur]

By Mike del Ro // 12 Jul 2019

Chicago artist Lasalle Grandeur is bringing the sunshine this season with the release of his new EP. Titled ‘Kelly Summers’, Grandeur brings a burst of upbeat, melodic hip-hop assisted by a roster of other rising talents from the city. Grandeur makes his musical mark on ‘Kelly Summers’, distinguishing himself with a sound that’s characterized by catchy melodies and driven by his vibrant vocal style. His ability to walk a line between bubblegum hooks and dynamic verses becomes clear on the highlight track “Pointless”, turning emotions of apathy into an uptempo banger produced by Chicago’s own Luke Almighty. The EP reaches another high on “Blame” which features Smyles and Sundé (who does not disappoint on the track’s hook). The potential on this EP is undeniable, and if you like what you hear, be sure to check out Lasalle Grandeur’s upcoming EP release show on July 19th. Info here.

Run It Up – [King Carter] & [Rago Foot] ft. [MIKE]

By Mike del Ro // 11 Jul 2019

As they gear up to drop their collaborative mixtape ‘Prayers Ain’t Enough’, King Carter and Rago Foot have shared a new music video from the project. On “Run It Up”, the synergy between the New York rapper and U.K. producer becomes apparent with Carter’s flows adding a sharp edge to Foot’s loopy, sample-based production. The track also features bars from Carter’s east coast cohort MIKE, who dropped his standout ‘tears of joy’ tape a few weeks ago. Both Carter and MIKE are members of New York’s sLUms collective, which has been responsible for some of the most eclectic underground hip-hop releases this year. Filmmaker Ryosuke Tanzawa brings Carter’s and MIKE’s verses to life, cutting between abstract close-ups of that mimic the song’s lyrics and shots of the two artists rapping on a rooftop. As they go bar for bar over Foot’s incessant soulful chops, the visual gives the viewer a birds-eye perspective of the narrative that’s woven into the track. With ‘Prayers Ain’t Enough’ just around the corner, “Run It Up” makes for a promising preview of what’s to come.

VVS – [D2X] ft. [Kid Marquis] [Glohan Beats]

By Mike del Ro // 3 Jul 2019

A lot has changed in the career of rapper D2X since I first encountered the Chicago emcee’s music last summer. From dropping his ‘Enjoy Life’ EP to getting spun on legendary Chicago hip-hop rap radio station Power 92, D2X has seen his stock rise steadily since he started fully committing himself to his craft in 2016, and he continues this growth on his latest track, “VVS”. While D2X has proven he’s capable of spitting more introspective bars when he wants to, he instead takes a moment to flex. Painting a rags-to-riches picture with his verses, D2X uses “VVS” to refer to the diamond-level luxury he’s been aspiring to while still making use of his impressive lyrical capabilities. He keeps his circle consistent too, working with frequent collaborators Kid Marquis and Glohan Beats who accentuate the rapper’s flows with their own.

Lellow – [Curtis Roach]

By Mike del Ro // 3 Jul 2019

Through his discography thus far, Curtis Roach has introduced listeners to his brand of bright, upbeat hip-hop with influences from jazz, funk, and footwork music. This week, Roach honed this sound into his most concentrated project yet, titled ‘Lellow’. The new EP shows growth for the Detroit artist as he carves out a sonic niche that’s full of bouncy summertime beats and lively raps. While his buoyant persona could draw comparisons to artists like Aminé or KYLE, Roach sets himself apart with effortlessly executed melodies and an ability to blend multiple styles into his own. Whether he’s drawing inspiration from Detroit’s historic jit sound and movement on “WJIT” or declaring his arrival on the motivational opening track “You Got It”, Roach navigates different styles without losing his own. Curtis Roach’s joy feels contagious, and it’s this exact care-free attitude that inspired the EP. A reference to the solar plexus chakra (associated with the color yellow), ‘Lellow’ embodies unbounded energy and playfulness. “It reminds me of when I was a kid and used to say Yellow like Lellow,” Roach explains. “It’s that pure freeing feeling you had as a kid when you put your hand out the window riding in the …

Shift EP – [Simon Sea]

By Mike del Ro // 28 Jun 2019

LA-based artist Simon Sea makes his debut today with ‘Shift’, a four-track EP comprised of hazy guitar riffs and enticing songwriting. Sea puts out just enough material to let a listener know what he’s about, mixing a raw indie sound with shoegaze synth textures and punchy 808s. It’s a style that’s not too far off from what his cohorts have been putting out, and while Sea’s self-produced aesthetic fits with other artists in the west coast indie scene, he manages to distinguish himself at the same time. He bookends the EP with two of its strongest tracks, opening with the pop-punkish banger “Broke Boi’ and closing with the trappy Yeek-assisted track “Planet”. On the song “Hurricane”, Sea brings in fellow LA artist DOTHA, who’s also in the midst of his own come up right now. Short but effective, ‘Shift’ offers a tempting introduction to Simon Sea and leaves the door open for what’s next from the west coast creative.