POSTS BY: JOHN MATRAIA

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Black Diamond – [Sporting Life] ft. [Deem Spencer]

By John Matraia // 23 Aug 2019

Chemistry between a producer and vocalist is something that should never be overlooked, and when this chemistry stands out, it elevates a song to the next level. This is how I felt when I first heard the new Sporting Life track featuring Deem Spencer, titled “Black Diamonds”. The two were clearly on the same wavelength when they created this track, as the Sporting Life beat on here is lo-fi and droning, but soulful at the same time, perfectly aligning with Spencer’s style. Deem brings his dense, reflective delivery to the track, adding to the song’s atmospheric nature. Let’s hope for new music from these two in the future, as this great collaboration has me itching for a project from these two. Sporting Life is dropping a new 4 track EP on September 27th, so keep an eye out for that, and check out this track on SoundCloud down below and all streaming services now!

Nothing is Safe – [clipping.]

By John Matraia // 21 Aug 2019

Daveed Diggs and his clipping. outfit has a new full-length album dropping in October, titled There Existed an Addiction to Blood. This should already be exciting news, but if you aren’t aware of the group, their new single will have you waiting with bated breath to hear the rest of the album.  The new track is called “Nothing is Safe”, and it is a synth-dominated banger, commanded by Diggs himself who raps his ass off for pretty much the entirety of the five-minute track. The song goes absolutely bonkers at the 2:29 mark, and the intensity in Diggs’ delivery matches the heart-thumping production. The high piano note that repeats throughout the track, along with the synth-heavy production makes this the musical equivalent of an early 80’s horror movie, and the morbid lyricism matches this as well. In fact, the lyric video down below heavily resembles the aesthetic of 1978’s Halloween. The new album is due out October 18th, and is sure to be something special, featuring names like Benny the Butcher and Ed Balloon. Stream this fantastic single on Spotify here and check out the eerie lyric video down below!

Change Me – [Camden Malik] x [Maxo]

By John Matraia // 19 Aug 2019

One thing that pretty much all young people have in common is that we truly have no idea what the future exactly holds for us. And how could we? Life tends to switch up fast, and Camden Malik, alongside Maxo, embrace this idea on their new collaborative track, titled “Change Me”. The track is part of an EP that Camden recently added to streaming services, titled More Focused Than Ever, and I figured it’d be a crime if I didn’t highlight this standout track. Within a few seconds of pressing play and hearing the jazz-influenced production, along with Maxo’s adlibs gracing the background of the hook on the track, I could tell this would be a favorite for me. Camden finds himself noticeably introspective on his verses here, uncertain of where the future is taking him, and gives us a catchy hook that embodies this feeling, making this one of his better performances overall. It makes sense to enlist Maxo for this track, considering the songs reflective nature, and that, along with the jazzy production, makes this a perfect track for the duo to attack, and they both kill it.  The two contemplate the potential consequences of making certain decisions, …

Awake – [Tkay Maidza] ft. [JPEGMAFIA]

By John Matraia // 19 Aug 2019

Next time you’re awake at 3:00 AM with seemingly no sight of falling asleep, you’ll have to take Tkay Maidza and JPEGMAFIA’s new collaborative track, entitled “Awake”, for a spin. I can’t say it will help your cause of catching some z’s (if anything, this high energy track will keep you up), but at least you’ll be able to resonate with this track knowing that you aren’t alone.  It only takes about twenty seconds to realize that this track is a smash. The blistering bass, along with Tkay’s commanding delivery on the hook makes for nothing short of a hit. To top it all off, JPEGMAFIA, who just dropped one of the best singles of the year, is featured on the track, and absolutely kills his verse, bringing his signature energy to the song and adding to its late-night intensity. The bass-powered production and lively Peggy feature is reminiscent of Denzel Curry’s “Vengeance” , and I highly recommend fans of that track to check this one out. Don’t sleep on this banger, check it out on Spotify here, and view the jarring visuals, which features an alternate ending, down below!

Kill Em All – [Mach-Hommy] [DJ Muggs]

By John Matraia // 19 Aug 2019

“You just go into the room, and shoot everyone you think needs to be shot.” This is an excerpt of a sample incorporated into the intro track of Mach-Hommy and DJ Muggs’ newest collaborative project, titled Kill Em All, and it’s safe to say that it properly sets the tone. There’s so much that can be said about Mach-Hommy. Long story short, he’s a legend in the making, and Kill Em All doesn’t do anything to alter that narrative. This is the second collaborative project between him and DJ Muggs in 2019. Back in March, the duo gave us the eerie Tuez-Les Tous, and then Mach-Hommy dropped his all killer, no filler Wop Kon Jòj! just earlier this summer. Being a fan of Mach’s work up until this point, I was pretty highly anticipating this release, especially once I heard that Your Old Droog and Tha God Fahim were featured on the project as well. “Apollon’s Wheels”, with Droog, proves to be a standout, with a beautifully executed beat by Muggs, along with Mach and Droog expertly trading verses with each other a couple of times. Tha God Fahim is featured on five tracks here, and there’s something to be said about …

Jesus Forgive Me, I Am a Thot – [JPEGMAFIA]

By John Matraia // 13 Aug 2019

It’s officially JPEGMAFIA season. If you’ve been keeping tabs on the Baltimore-native recently, you would know he’s been teasing a “disappointment” for quite some time now, and quite the “disappointment” his new offering, titled “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am a Thot”, is. In all seriousness, the new track is phenomenal, which shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, considering that Peggy is one of the most creative and cutting-edge rap artists to rise out of the past decade. While the song will switch up on a dime, it’s his vocals that are providing the most variation, proving his versatility more than ever on a single track. The production becomes noisy when Peggy is screaming his heart out, and spacey when he belts out his sweet auto-tune vocals on the song’s refrain, which I personally can’t get out of my head: “you better count your blessings for REEEEAALLL.” What remains consistent at the core of this track is an off-kilter piano melody that serves as a foundation for the track. It’s pretty addictive and proves to be the only thing listeners can rely on being there for them throughout the track’s two and a half minutes, as warping synthesizers and heavy …

Location: State Of Mind – [Tha God Fahim]

By John Matraia // 5 Aug 2019

There’s nothing more important for a rap artist than having a strong cadence along with a distinct energy on the mic. I think that is forgotten sometimes, depending on who you’re talking to. Just because someone is lyrical and thoughtful, doesn’t make a song interesting, and personality and unique vocal presence will trump the former every time, at least as far as replay value goes. When it comes to Tha God Fahim, there’s no need to pick and choose between these two, because he seems to have the whole package. Not only is he a top-tier lyricist, but he also has a unique and potent delivery, and this deadly combination makes him one of the best rappers out right now. I’m reminded of every time I hear a verse of his, whether it’s on his own track, or he’s contributing to someone else’s. For example, one of my favorite verses of the year comes from Fahim on the track “Mozambique Drill”, from Mach-Hommy’s most recent release. Just recently, we were blessed with a new track from Fahim, and as expected, it’s another great release. The production on here, courtesy of none other than Earl Sweatshirt, screams New York. It’s jazzy and …

I Been Born Again – [BROCKHAMPTON]

By John Matraia // 1 Aug 2019

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Brockhampton since they came on the scene, it’s that they can never be counted out. They work quietly, but when they distribute their art to the masses, it is an explosive phenomenon that turns all heads in their direction. Possibly dissatisfied with the reception of 2018’s Iridescence after unspeakably high expectations set by the group’s 2017 trilogy, the band clearly took a step back to switch it up and decide where they would go from here.  And switch it up they did, as their first 2019 single, “I Been Born Again”, from their upcoming album Ginger, takes a “less is more” approach. Not only is this song hookless, but the beat on here is very skeletal, relying on sparse synthesizers weaving in and out of a bouncy bassline and kick drums, along with some vocal samples scattered throughout the track.  As I said, this song doesn’t have the hook or refrain that is usually part of the Brockhampton formula, and this is actually refreshing to hear, especially considering the fact that the verses don’t disappoint. Joba’s pitched down verse meshes with the ethereal mood of the track, and Matt’s explosive verse to finish off …

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