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Shinigami – [Paris Lndn]

By John Matraia // 27 May 2020

Let me just cut to the chase: Paris Lndn is a stud. He’s put out a number of great singles over the past year, and his new one, “Shinigami”, is his best yet. He’s only improving on all fronts, and it’ll be exciting to listen to what he has to offer going forward. “Shinigami” contains Paris Lndn’s most experimental elements to date while also being his most commercially viable song, which is what makes this one an absolute smash. Sticking out in the landscape of melodic rap artists in 2020 is no easy feat, but Paris Lndn seems to do it by just being himself, and this song has a little something for everyone. The mix of Lndn’s vocals here is perfection, and brings together the ethereal feel that the subdued melody of the beat creates. He uses his time so well, and when he starts singing, he doesn’t stop, seamlessly transitioning from the addictive hook to his mystical rapping in the verses, which also have some incredibly catchy vocal melodies that keep the listener enthralled. Paris Lndn is finding himself more as an artist, and his music continues to feel like a breath of fresh air. His flow throughout …

Nippy – [Student1]

By John Matraia // 21 May 2020

I first became aware of Student1 through his feature on “Watch This” by Crashprez, an absolute haymaker from a few years back, and it’s been interesting to watch him grow as an artist throughout the years. His newest offering, titled “Nippy,” released late last month, proves his growth and versatility more than ever. “Nippy” is a hazy, laid-back tune, featuring an effortless delivery from Student1 that pairs very well with the twinkly keys and sharp, yet sparse, percussion. The track is noticeably well structured, which is what elevates it from good to great. Student’s tasteful vocal mixing and lyrics, along with undeniably catchy vocals in the refrain and verses make this one next level, and he doesn’t try to do too much, which pays off big time. Nothing is wasted and everything he gives the listener is necessary for the track’s success. I can’t wait to see where Student1 goes from here, as his range up until this point is impressessive, and if there’s more from where this came from, we should be in for quite the treat. Give this track a listen down below.  

Cholla – [Jerry Paper]

By John Matraia // 21 May 2020

It doesn’t quite feel like summer, but it is getting to be that time, and now more than ever we need feel-good summer tracks to keep our spirits up. Luckily, Jerry Paper just recently dropped the video for “Cholla” off his brand new album Abracadabra. You may remember Jerry Paper from his contribution to Tyler, the Creator’s Grinch Inspired EP from late 2018. His deep and charismatic vocals stand out right away and bring a unique and likable characteristic to his tracks, and this stays true here. “Cholla” is a lot of fun. The guitar riffs are playful, the bouncy bass lines are infectious, and the keyboard melodies create a strong foundation that guides the track along. Jerry’s vocals pair nicely with the light instrumental and he comes through with a catchy refrain that ensures this track will stay in rotation all summer long. The visuals here are strange to say the least, with very surreal animations that I can’t quite put into words. Mr. Paper’s face fills up a square screen in multiple different forms throughout the entirety of the video, twisting and turning along with the animations. Check out the otherworldly visuals for this track down below, and …

Soulfood – [Redveil]

By John Matraia // 23 Apr 2020

I always get this feeling of satisfaction when I recognize a sample used in a track I’m hearing for the first time. This is what initially caught my ear when I heard “Soulfood,” by sixteen year-old Redveil, and I’m happy I continued to listen because he proved to be quite the talent. While I enjoy hearing a familiar sample, I’m also worried that an artist may botch it when making it their own and implementing it into their track. However, Redveil proves to have a good ear, picking a beat (produced by Tom from Mars) that maintains the soulful nature of the sample while adding a groovy, compelling aspect to it that is further complemented by Redveil’s delivery. Vocally, the Maryland-native starts with a laid-back flow but ramps it up a bit in the second verse, showing off some interesting introspection and storytelling.  The lyrics here are evident that Redveil is more mature than most kids his age, so it will be exciting to see where he goes from here, lyrically and sonically. Check out this single on Spotify down below and Apple Music here.    

Straff From Nigeria – [Straffitti]

By John Matraia // 23 Apr 2020

Every once in a while I’ll come across a track that features undeniably radiant energy.  “Straff from Nigeria” by Straffitti is one of those tracks, and there isn’t one dull moment throughout the entirety of this new song or its accompanying visuals. Straffitti proves to understand how to put out a high quality track and video without taking himself too seriously, and it’s hard not to root for him because of this. His lyrics are as silly as they are catchy, and the visuals here are very well put together and pair perfectly with the music. The synth-work in the production at the midpoint and towards the end of the song is impressive, and ensures that the track comes to a strong close. Along with this, Straffitti’s vocals are dynamic but consistently catchy, which is only more evidence that he has a hit on his hands with this one. Check out the visuals for this fun track from Straffitti down below, and stream it here. Directed by: Straffitti & Bidemi Popson Edited by: Bidemi Popson Assistant Director: Dvmian3000 Produced by: Namatsey & Natse D.O.P: Mesele

Four Albums with Distinct Atmospheres

By John Matraia // 1 Apr 2020

We are currently living through a historical event and at times, it is difficult to keep our spirits up. All we can do is try to adapt and do what we can to keep ourselves safe and sane while being cooped up indoors. One way to cope is to try and step away from the tragedy for an hour or two. I’ve personally found myself watching movies, reading, or listening to music to distract myself. There are many different ways music can help, but I’ve found that albums that distinguish themselves from the rest are those that create a distinct atmosphere and a world of their own. They do this by establishing consistencies, not just sonically, but also in terms of subject matter. An atmosphere alone isn’t ideal though. Many albums fall victim to using the same presets, filters, or vocal pitching across songs to the point where they blend together and create an album that serves as nothing more than a soulless tone. What is really impressive is an album’s ability to have a collection of songs that stand strong on their own, while also reinforcing the qualities that many of the tracks around them share, thus creating a …

Meet Orrin: The Cyborg Rapper Sent from 2050 to Save Us All

By John Matraia // 21 Feb 2020

In 2020, developments in the musical landscape are entirely unpredictable. There’s no way of telling exactly what will propel an artist’s career to the next level, and every day we see new artists rising to stardom in different ways. Let me introduce Orrin, a “collective conscious and cyborg sent by a higher civilization to warn humans about the incoming apocalypse.” Orrin was discovered by millions through a series of viral clips pulled from an episode of the Dr. Phil Show. Orrin’s mother and sister, concerned about Orrin’s realization, appeared with Orrin to seek help from Dr. Phil. Orrin’s composure throughout the show, along with much of what is said throughout the episode, has hooked viewers, leading to thousands of jokes in the comment section of the video. So who is Orrin? Well, according to the episode, Orrin graduated from NYU’s Stern Business School with a 3.9 GPA, but everything changed following this. For the last couple of years, according to their mother, Orrin has claimed to be a music-making cyborg. Orrin is a collective, and therefore speaks using “we”, not “I”, a particular element of the Orrin persona that fans have gravitated towards. There are many notable quotes from the …

Swarm – [PlayThatBoiZay]

By John Matraia // 4 Feb 2020

The Denzel Curry co-sign is one that is highly respected. He won’t back just anyone, but he’s quick to show his support of PlayThatBoiZay, and for good reason. The Carol City-native is a menace on the mic and brings a vocal presence that is unmatched.  Zay showed up on our pages back in November with the visuals for the Denzel and Anonymuz-assisted destructive anthem, “Poison Klan”, from his Nocturnal EP. He’s back with new visuals for the blistering “Swarm”, another absolute banger from the project. The raw energy here can’t be denied, and the industrial instrumental that backs the vocals is a perfect fit. The beat switch towards the end of the track adds a whole dimension of versatility to Zay as an artist and only further proves he’s someone to keep an eye on. The visuals are shot in his hometown of Carol City, and are a perfect fit for the subject matter and sound of the track, with a consistently unique color palette, along with some eye-catching editing and shots that make this one for the books. Check out the video down below and stream the rest of the Nocturnal EP here! Directed by Fxrbes & Unklelu