Messed Up – [KIITA]

By Chuck Ramos // 15 Jul 2019

Visuals are a necessity when bringing a record to life and KIITA’s latest visual offering for her recently released single, “Messed Up” checks off all of the right boxes. The Columbus-native uses the highly popularized and parody-manipulated “Vogue 72 Questions” to reaffirm her grungy-punk mentality. KIITA is not your run-of-the-mill pop star and is perfectly fine with that. Following in the footsteps of the extremely popular “Ariana Grande 72 Questions” parody, KIITA recreates a similarly comical narrative by inviting a team of overzealous cameramen to her illustrious mansion. The superficial interview quickly shifts when the song’s heavy bass-line and guitar-driven production begins to play. Embodying the darker tones of the record, KIITA goes from bright and bubbly to dark and revengeful, echoing the pissed off sentiments of the record. KIITA continues the parody by shedding her pink personality and wardrobe, opting for a chicken suit and a baseball bat that she then uses to shatter and destroy everything in her path. The angsty nature of “Messed Up” is cleverly brought to life in the parody-styled video that is able to convey two messages; KIITA is not your typical pop star and whoever broke her heart and fumbled her trust should …

Forest Green – [Q]

By Chuck Ramos // 12 Jul 2019

There never seems to be a shortage of talent emerging from the Sunshine State. My latest musical fascination coming out of South Florida is non-other than, Q. First introduced to his music through his lead single, “Your Special,” I was immediately blown away by the bare-all sensibility of the acoustic record. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has followed it up with his seven-track debut, Forest Green. The 18-minute showcasing effortlessly utilizes a barrage of sonic elements and introspective lyricism to depict Q’s journey. The album’s opener, “Lavender,” features soft vocals atop coarse production. Flexing his skills as a producer, Q shows off his range and flexibility as an artist, combining the contrasting elements of his voice with grittier production. Progressing forward with guitar-driven tracks like the love-pleading cries of “Lady” and unapologetic honesty of “I Get Tired,” Q showcases a confident self-awareness. The project’s fourth record, “I Might Slip Away if I Don’t Feel Nothing,” can be seen as the debut’s interlude. Hopeful in his romantic advancements, Q paints a familiar picture of our tumultuous relationship with love. The song concludes with an abrupt transition into the downtempo of the love-assured serenade, “Pray Together.” Nearing the album’s close, Q serenades listeners …

Dedication – [Jay2]

By Chuck Ramos // 9 Jul 2019

One of the best ways to be notified about new music from some of your favorite up-and-coming artists is subscribing to email newsletters. I woke up this morning to a scorching hot email in my inbox from the Zero Fatigue collective about the latest release from their arguably quietest member, Jay2. Packed with hard-hitting production and lyrical gymnastics, Jay2 makes his return all about “Dedication.” The Monte Booker produced single carries that electric bounce the Zero Fatigue collective has grown to surround themselves with and let me tell you, it hits as hard as ever. Jay2 opens the record with his signature crooning before jumping right into the thicket of the multi-layered Monte production. Sharing the ability to navigate through a minefield of drums and electric hums like his fellow collective members, Jay2 shows exactly why he is where he is. Boasting his elite level rapping, future aspirations, disregard for “stress and problems” and seamless comparisons to the likes of Eddy Guerrero, Samuel Jackson and Bobby Flay makes the latest record a name-drop affair. Jay2 places himself in lofty company and we couldn’t see him anywhere else. This is the young fresh prince of the “zero zero zero” collective’s first …

Therapy – [YANG]

By Chuck Ramos // 8 Jul 2019

Sometimes the best discoveries happen by accident. This pretense describes my recent introduction to the incredibly gifted vocal abilities of Atlanta based artist YANG. Her latest release, “Therapy,” combines sultry R&B ballads and razor-sharp spoken word that will make any disciple of the church of Baduizm smile. YANG’s brand new single, released a mere three days ago (June 5), showcases her talent in full bloom. The smooth R&B slow jam begins with her silk-draped vocals atop bass-driven production. Chronicling her growing frustrations with the fake elements of life, YANG pleads her need to flee. The record’s theme of self-prioritization is hypnotic in its performance, walking listeners through a medley of harmonization that floats you into another realm. One of the song’s most charming qualities is YANG’s ability to swoon us with her scat-singing, creating a weightless atmosphere that feels reminiscent of a lullaby. It’s evident the gifted vocalist is singing from the soul, utilizing the record as actual therapy, a message that can be felt by anyone who listens. This is YANG’s most recent single to date since releasing her song, “Better,” in August. There is no denying the talent of the fairly new act who will surely be gracing …

Do Wit It – [Holland Izz]

By Chuck Ramos // 3 Jul 2019

One of the most standout qualities of emerging rapper Holland Izz is his trademark vocals that show a malleability to fit into a number of pockets. His skill as a rapper, vocalist and overall charismatic individual are on full display in his new visual for his song, “Do Wit It.” Holland Izz oozes charisma in his latest visual offering that builds upon the fun-loving, tongue-in-cheek nature of his bouncy project cut. The Goldby7 directed affair captures Izz sweeping a previously unsatisfied women off her feet. Showing up to the women’s door as the pizza delivery man, the Compton native uses his signature smile to swoon her into a day of galavanting and playful intimacy. The records brightly textured production provides a cohesive background for Izz and his newly scooped arm candy. Despite the videos short-lived duration, Izz squeezes every drop out of his performance showcasing his on-camera steadiness as a performer, versatility as a rapper and even some subtle dance moves. Clearly, Holland Izz knows exactly what to do with it. This is the second record from Izz’s recently released project, Stay Stunny, shared in early June. The project as a whole is a stellar showcasing of the multifaceted artist’s ability …

Six Flags Drive – [Niko Blue]

By Chuck Ramos // 2 Jul 2019

Atlanta based artist Niko Blue returns with his latest single, “Six Flags Drive.” The latest offering from the rapper and producer is his melodic contender for song of the Summer. Hoping to reach those eager to submerge themselves in a body of water, Niko Blue makes a compelling case for all those looking to capture the coveted sun-soaked vibes. The song begins with a set of electric riffs that crescendo until an eventual tension release that introduces thumping bass and Niko’s signature vocals. Filled with bright textures that comprise the song’s production, Niko relishes in a playful energy, capitalizing on his skill as a rapper and vocalist. There is no doubt this record needs to be blared while in a car with friends, windows down and bass turned all the way up. Niko looks to reignite the momentum created from his Summer themed album, Me, You and Summer, released in May of last year. With artists everywhere releasing music to accommodate the increase in temperature, I don’t think it is any stretch of the imagination to say that “Six Flags Drive” deserves a spot on your “pool ready” playlist. This is Niko Blue’s first offering in a few months, coming …

Exoskeleton – [Bensbeendead.]

By Chuck Ramos // 1 Jul 2019

Bensbeendead. may be a relatively new act but his subject matter and precision both as a singer and producer echoes a self-awareness many acts rarely achieve. The Portland, Maine based artist recently released his latest music video for his single, “Exoskeleton.” Capturing a somber moment alone, Bensbeendead. captivates in his role as the visual’s sole subject matter delivering a performance that feels utterly genuine. A minimalistic style of visual starring the singer-songwriter places a focus on lyrics and the beautifully orchestrated multi-layered electronic production. The Ant Wheeler directed visual begins simply, capturing Bensbeendead. outside with his essentials; takeout, wine and TV. The image of the multifaceted artist sitting alone sets the tone of the records melancholy theme of inner reflection and transcendence. Bensbeendead. gives us a front row seat into his most intimate moments that we as individuals usually reserve for when we are alone. The willingness to bare all for his listeners highlights a courage not found in every artist, making the discovery of Bensbeendead. even more special. This is one of two official singles out by the Maine based artist who clearly has a firm grasp of his artistry and ability to not only offer heart piercing lyrics …

Invested – [Ashoka]

By Chuck Ramos // 1 Jul 2019

Rockland County native Ashoka has returned from his two-year hiatus to deliver his newest single, “Invested.” Blending a combination of R&B and Pop elements, Ashoka looks to recapture the attention of fans who were captivated by his debut single, “No Stress,” released in 2017. Ashoka champions unwavering transparency on his latest single that finds the melody and his infectious hook creating ability as the record’s hallmark. Backed by melodic production, Ashoka delivers a sonic performance reminiscent of the early 2000’s. The New York County based rapper and singer contrasts the song’s lyrically somber subject matter by utilizing higher pitched vocals to create a record that acts more as an uplifting declaration on what love is suppose to be rather than a condemning critique on past transgressions. Ashoka spoke about what the song means to him, saying, “’Invested’ was written during a time In my life where I was more focused on myself in romantic situations. I was coming out of a 4-year relationship and felt as though I needed to focus on myself and my happiness. Ironically ‘Invested’ came with the realization of what I wasn’t giving to the women that I was with. I hadn’t been giving them my …