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Premiere: Memory Lane – [LOWFi]

By Lucas Garrison // 19 Sep 2019

Baltimore/Florida trio LOWFi have made a name for themselves with a fiery, no-nonsense approach (evidenced on the previously featured “PAWS”). On their latest, video-assisted offering, however, they switch things up, maintaining that throwback vibe, but slowing things down for an introspective trip down “Memory Lane.” Even with a long, promising career ahead of them, Hayleo, Jayy Grams, and Von Wilda (in that order) take a second to reflect on how far they’ve come. Utilizing their three distinct flows–that all share a similarly raw edge- they paint vivid pictures of life growing up.  The nostalgic, heartfelt feel of the track is captured in the no-frills video which depicts the three, close-knit emcees taking a scenic tour of the city; there’s even Cal Ripken jersey for an extra dose of that 90’s flavor. “Memory Lane” can be found on the groups latest, three-track EP The Difference, but I also recommend checking out The Allegory, if this is your introduction to the talented up-and-comers.

Loverboy (Live) – [The Marías]

By Lucas Garrison // 18 Sep 2019

The Marías are unquestionably one of my favorite bands right now. It’s been a long time since a band has so seamlessly made their way into my heavy rotation. When I need a break of new music Friday, when I’m cleaning, driving, walking, or doing nothing at all, it seems like I always reach for The Marías first. I can’t get enough of their refreshing, unique sound. Also, I got the chance to see them live, and it was one of my favorite shows in recent memory. Eager to share them with anybody and everybody, their live rendition of “Loverboy” felt like the perfect introduction because it showcases their fresh sound packaged in their special live feel. What I love most about their style is how the songs progress and build. On “Loverboy,” backed by a pillowy, luxurious backdrop, María’s velvety vocals lull you into a sense of security, which makes the drop at the end– featuring a crescendo of drums, horns, and strings–all the more powerful. It just hits different after the slower, sultry build up. One of the deeper cuts in their library, “Loverboy” takes on new life with the live rendition, and should be all the convincing you need …

[Beautiful Prison] – Nikki Jean

By Lucas Garrison // 16 Sep 2019

With three of the tracks that make up the project– included the criminally underrated “Pink Lemonade”–released last year, Nikki Jean’s Beautiful Prison has been on my radar for a hot minute. Good things are worth waiting for and I am happy to report that Beautiful Prison was well worth the wait. The driving force of Beautiful Prison is Nikki’s cool, understated style. Keeping an even-keel and never doing too much (or too little), Nikki leans on her slick pen game –her songwriting flows so well–and some mellow, yet flavorful production to keep you curious and invested. Seemingly effortless, everything just works for Jean and it translates into a simmering, slow-burn feel that is dangerously addicting. Standout Cuts: “Candy,” “Driver,” & “Pink Lemonade”

Upper Hand – [Bblasian]

By Lucas Garrison // 15 Sep 2019

In today’s climate, there are a million and one factors that go into making a hit record, ranging from the right feature at the right time to a viral Tik-Tok. Sometimes, though, it really is as simple as making dope music. At the end of the day a hit record is a hit record and Bblasian’s “Upper Hand” is a hit record. Already garnering some buzz, and, now, freshly signed to Cinematic Music Group, “Upper Hand” could be the one that takes the Louisville product to the next level before his debut EP, DIF, drops later this month. On “Upper Hand,” Bblasian looks to motivate and inspire, tackling obstacles in his path, with his melodic flow that’s engined by his positive, youthful energy, and a hook guaranteed to get stuck in your brain. The video, directed by Gxdlike, echo the personality and mission of the track, with  “Upper Hand” spreading the color throughout a dark environment. A positive message, packaged in a colorful, anthemic sound, with well-executed video to cap it off, “Upper Hand” will serve as a strong foundation for the talented up-and-comer.

Don’t Save Me – [Derin Falana]

By Lucas Garrison // 13 Sep 2019

If you are an artist and you have the crabs in a barrel mentality, you are only doing yourself a disservice. A key component of building a “scene” is supporting (and getting support) from other artists in your hometown. I can’t tell you how many artists I have discovered because someone from that scene posted about them. Toronto is a perfect example. A hotbed of talent, I’m always keeping an eye on artists from up north, and this week, my feed was dominated by support for Derin Falana and his new project Don’t Save Me. It seems like every artist from the T-Dot comes with a refined sound and Falana is no exception. With sleek, crisp production, a commanding presence, and a sharp, biting flow Falana sounds like a tested veteran; for the first half of the project anyway. Don’t get it twisted, the quality doesn’t change, but his style sure does. Falana spends the back half of the project progressing into a more R&B-centric sound. Even with the switch-up–which, by the way, he does gradually for a smooth transition — he doesn’t miss a beat, fitting the swirling, atmospheric production as comfortably as he does the brisk rap beat. Whether you …

Jollof Rice – [Bas] x [EarthGang]

By Lucas Garrison // 11 Sep 2019

Earthgang’s Mirrorland has taken over since it’s release last Friday (for good reason); it’s stellar. Mirrorland deserves all the praise and attention it’s getting. While Earthgang is fresh and heavy in your rotation, though, take it back just a little farther and throw “Jollof Rice” some much-needed love. The collaboration between Bas and Earthgang –which appeared on Bas’ Spilled Milk 1– is one of my favorite Dreamville releases of the year, and considering the amount of music they’ve been making, that’s saying something. Bas and Earthgang (spearheaded by Decatur Dot on this one) work really well together, with Bas’ understated approach (and his knack for a killer hook) grounding the track, balancing Dot’s buzzing, unique energy. The icing on the cake? The set of rich, colorful visuals that, following suit of the title, take inspiration from Bas’ West African roots. In all the buzz around Dreamville this year, ti’s great to see a song as good as “Jollof Rice” get it’s much-needed attention with a video to put a bow on things.


By Lucas Garrison // 9 Sep 2019

Back in February, LOVEONFRIDAY, made his Lyrical Lemonade debut with his Selfish EP, where we highlighted his work ethic. The Houston native hasn’t slowed down either, keeping a steady stream of music coming by releasing his new EP, Get Well Soon, track by track. Now that it’s complete (and on the streaming platform of your choice) it seems like a great time to highlight his fresh, pop-splashed style. Produced in full by Michael Bao, Get Well Soon, has a cohesive feel that allows you to really get caught up in the flow of the project and the upbeat, bouncing production brings out the best in LOVEONFRIDAY’s melodic approach. The swirling, melodic combination of Bao’s boardwork and LOVEONFRIDAY crooning serves as a nice juxtaposition to the emotionally-charged songwriting. With 6 songs and clocking in at 15 minutes, Get Well Soon hits quick, but hits hard. In a short time, LOVEONFRIDAY creates an atmosphere, makes his style and personality known, and makes you wanna set it on repeat. Definitely give this a listen (or ten). Standout cuts: “1000 Miles,” “Fall,” & “Anxiety (ft. Trevor Daniel)”

Moonwalk – [Rexx Life Raj] x [Kenny Beats]

By Lucas Garrison // 8 Sep 2019

Producer turned law enforcement officer Kenny Beats has had a break out year this year thanks to his series The Cave and a few big placements (including an Ed Sheeran one). His latest collaboration comes with rising Bay Area artist, Rexx Life Raj for an out of this world effort entitled “Moonwalk.” Kenny captures Rexx’s style perfectly, cooking up an atmospheric, string-based beat. This kind of beat is where Rexx excels, because it brings out the best in his dexterous approach. Even with an unconventional flow he always finds a way to float in the space the board work provides and the overall vibe reflects his often insightful, inspirational lyricism. Speaking of space, naturally, for a song entitled “Moonwalk” the video takes Rexx on an intergalactic voyage in search of his producer. The fun, creative video pairs nicely with the song to create a complete effort; I’d love to hear more from these two!