Connect with Lucas on Twitter.

No Permission Needed – [Rexx Life Raj] ft. [Bas]

By Lucas Garrison // 18 Oct 2019

When two of the most consistent and thoughtful (yet slept on) artists in rap (in my opinion at least) get together it’s a guarantee that I’m going to write about it. Throw a Sango beat under them and I couldn’t get to my computer fast enough. I’ve been waiting for Rexx Life Raj to blow up for a while. To be honest, it’s too hard to predict these things, but with his new album, Father Figure 3: Somewhere Out There set to drop early next month, he’s been making all the right moves and gaining some serious momentum. First, a collab with Kenny Beats, then one  Russ, and now, Rexx joins forces with Bas for “No Permission Needed.” Even with different styles–Rexx with is light crooning and Bas with that deep voice– two emcees are the perfect duo to tackle the cushioned Sango beat because of their ability to be thoughtful and inspirational without ever coming across as corny. Rounding the effort (released early this week), Rexx dropped off a left-of-center video where he showcases his gardening skills.

Modern Trash – [Abhi The Nomad]

By Lucas Garrison // 18 Oct 2019

It may sound weird, especially in this day and age, but there are still some people who don’t really listen to rap. In the event I encounter one of them in the wild, one of the first artists I suggest is Abhi The Nomad. With a knack for colorful production and a ton of personality, Abhi has developed a really accessible sound that can draw anyone in. In fact, I’ve already shared his new album Modern Trash, with more than a few people. Abhi broke out last year with the release of Marbled and continued his momentum with five solo releases capped off by a few acoustic renditions of some select cuts off the album. The range he showed in 2018 is concentrated on Modern Trash; damn near every single one of his facets is on display. From the harder cuts like “BTFL” and “Trash Man” to the lighter ones like “Me Now Evil” (which absolutely belongs in a commercial or movie trailer), Abhi does it all with ease. Still, he keeps things light and fresh, with some really stellar production. In fact, I think it’s his production–and his ability to keep things light while still incorporating layers– that continues to be my favorite part …

Lo Lo – [Destiny Rogers] ft. [P-Lo] & [Guapdad 4000]

By Lucas Garrison // 14 Oct 2019

I love all the young, creative talent coming out of the bay right now (as always). It’s more than just hip-hop too. Take Destiny Rogers, for example. She carries that distinct Bay swagger but translates it to a pop-leaning style. On her latest, “Lo-Lo” she bridges the gap like the Golden Gate, with hip-hop infused effort that features two other Bay Area representatives in P-Lo and Guapdad. It may seem like an unexpected collaboration, and while each artist has a distinct style, they all share in that buzzing Bay energy, allowing them each to fit Stereotypes’ glossy production without ever missing a beat.  A relatively fresh face on the scene, this may be the first you’ve heard from the 20-year-old Rogers, but it definitely won’t be the last.

Gang Starr Bass Loop Mashup – [Brady Watt]

By Lucas Garrison // 11 Oct 2019

In a wild turn of events… something I’d never thought I’d say in 2019… I can’t wait for this new Gang Starr album. After the release of “Family & Loyalty”  which is equipped with a stellar feature from J.Cole (another one), I’ve been anxiously awaiting more news regarding the historic album. Still waiting for official word, but keeping the hype train rolling, Brady Watt steps in with an amazing bass loop mashup of that highlights some Gang Starr’s most legendary cuts. Who better than the bassist in DJ Premier’s live band (who is also signed to Premo’s TTT label as a solo artist) to takes us down memory lane? Using a loop machine, he intricately weaves together the basslines for hits like “Full Clip,” “Mass Appeal,” and more. Obviously its incredible demonstration of Watt’s talent–which is why he’s also supplied basslines to the likes of Curren$y, Joey Badass, and Talib just to name a few–but it’s also a testament to DJ Premier’s musicianship. Personally, when it comes to Premo’s legacy, I always focus on the samples and scratches but hearing all these amazing baselines meshed together is a great reminder of how intricate and complete Premo’s compositions are and gets me even more …


By Lucas Garrison // 8 Oct 2019

Even though I spend most of my waking hours listening to music, I’m liable to show up late to an artist here and there. I came across Ama Lou a few months ago and was kicking myself because her project was released in 2018 so, as excited as I was, I couldn’t share it. Good things come to those who wait because, her latest, “NORTHSIDE,” is not only her most convincing offering to date, but comes equipped with production from hit-makers Frank Dukes and Murda Beats. Dedicated to her home town of North London, this one has the flavor of some home cooking, with Ama Lou sounding free and confident in her smooth delivery. The accompanying set of visuals has a no-frills feel that put Lou and her crew (including A$AP Nast and Taco) center-stage, to accentuate the natural energy of the song. No word on the larger picture from Ama Lou just yet, but if it’s anything like “NORTHSIDE” we should be in for something great.

Automatic – [Spencer.]

By Lucas Garrison // 4 Oct 2019

This is my first introduction to Spencer. (don’t forget the period) but I can already tell he’s destined for big things because he moves differently. Though hailing from Rochester, NY and though his sound is rooted in soul/R&B, the crooner has recently found a home with UK, indie-rock label 4AD. Additionally, he is also heading out on tour with Gus Dapperton, who, too has a style all his own. Who he aligns himself with is proof enough, but his unconventional mystique is best-represented in his music; his new tune “Automatic” specifically. With an easy, soulful vocal approach, Spencer.’s understated, natural mystique jumps out. He effortlessly navigates a beat that blends boom-bap inspired drums, with a plunging bassline and the fuzzy atmosphere of an indie rock ballad. An added bonus, the effort comes equipped with a set of visuals that, with great use of light, color, and some trippy effects echo the hazy, left-of-center mystique of the track and the artist behind it.

BRB – [Marco XO]

By Lucas Garrison // 4 Oct 2019

Marco XO dropped off a subtly catchy track that will be on repeat before you even realize it. To quote Marco himself, “Deja Vu seen this shit before its Deja vu.” Earlier this year I stumbled across “Mars” and ever since I’ve been keeping a very close eye on Marco. With every subsequent release, the Orlando native has leveled up (including a performance at Rolling Loud). Now, he returns with his biggest look yet, dropping off, arguably, his most convincing effort in “Deja Vu” along with the announcement of his new EP, B.Y.E., and a tour with Oliver Francis and Smrtdeath. As for the single, it features the same ethereal, atmospheric vibes as past releases, but with a sleek, dusted feel to the Eem Tripilin boardwork, it almost has a vintage, Southern feel to it. Marco brings a great pace to the track, skating atop the beat with a confident yet smooth approach that results in a really easy listen; this one goes down real smooth. An EP, a tour, and a great single, with all this space talk, it won’t be long until Marco actually blasts off.

Premiere: Thinking Over – [Junia-T] ft. [Benjamin A.D]

By Lucas Garrison // 27 Sep 2019

With his last release, a set of visuals for “Ooowee,” Junia-T teased his next project Studio Monk. Now that the project is complete and dropping before year’s end (via Pirates Blend), the Toronto producer/DJ is celebrating by dropping off another rich effort in “Thinking Over.” Born from Junia’s time spent across the pond on tour with Jessie Reyez, it’s fitting that “Thinking Over” features the smooth stylings U.K. crooner, Benjamin A.D. In fact, conversations the two had served the inspiration for the existential, pensive soul of the track. Even with a heady subject matter, “Thinking Over” maintains a colorful, mellow atmosphere thanks to A.D’s understated charisma and a beat that is driven by some absolutely stellar live instrumentation (that bassline though!). In addition to assembling the cast of talent–A.D on the mic, Sean “Skripture” Allen on the bass, and TJ Whitelaw on guitar– Junia also laid down the drums for the effort; a producer in every sense of the word. Loaded with talented musicians and with Junia guiding the ship, bringing it all together, “Thinking Over” is just a taste of what’s to come when Studio Monk finally drops.