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Behind the Music: Highlighting the Producers of Today’s Sound

By: Lee Mcintosh When it comes to creating great music, the artists are the ones who receive most of the recognition for the creation of the song. Their name is what’s attached to the song, their flows, their likeness, and even the features that the artist may have. However, the song making process all begins with one entity… the producer/s. No matter how creative the lyrics may be, how great the artist’s cadence sounds, the beat behind it all is a huge factor behind the overall appeal of the song, and that is what moves people and captures their attention as soon as they hit play. We are in a different era of music now. Technology has advanced to a point where producers and artists don’t have to be in the studio together anymore. This can be a gift and a curse at the same time. Often so, producers may send over a beat pack to an artist and then they select the songs they want and don’t want. From there, the studio session may be recorded or put on Instagram live, and the producer may be nowhere in sight. This may create confusion as to who actually made the …

Organic Mud – [Larry June] x [Cardo]

Larry June is putting in some real work this year… or “doing numbers” as he would say. Already two albums deep in 2019, Larry June just completed the trilogy with the release of Mr. Midnight. Don’t doubt his work ethic, these aren’t simply leftovers compiled from the previous two albums either. On Mr. Midnight, June teamed up with one of the premier producers in the game, Cardo, to create a swagger-filled, West-Coast album perfect for cruisin’. Here, standout cut “Organic Mud” gets the visual treatment, with June taking us on a tour of the Bay Area as he spits his luxurious bars with that distinct, rumbling flow. The setting paired June’s laid-back energy is the perfect compliment to Cardo’s bouncing boardwork and is just a small sample of the natural chemistry the two have on the entire project. Good Job, Larry!

Pi’erre Bourne: Magnitude, Influence, & TLOP4

Specifically in the hip-hop world, as is often echoed throughout the endless halls of social media, there is a burgeoning narrative between fans and critics alike that the producers are the trend-setters in hip-hop right now as opposed to the rappers, themselves (with exception, of course). New flows, new cadences, and new vocal structures are constituted from shifts in production, first, and entire subgenres of hip-hop are being formed around the styles of individual producers. Furthermore, in an age where many artists pluck instrumentals from the scarcely-impressive myriad of beats that hit their email, it has become essential to crown those who value developing a rapport with their collaborators, deviating from the run-and-gun, inorganic costs of business in the world of the internet. Perhaps the most prominent of these organic trendsetters is Pi’erre Bourne — an artist just as determined to make his mark behind the boards as he is in front of the microphone. From the iconic “Yo Pi’erre, come out here!” beat tag to his series of The Life of Pi’erre projects chronicling, well, the life of Pi’erre, the South Carolina talent has become ubiquitous in the hip-hop world as of late, providing a soundtrack to the indomitable …

Our 50 Favorite Wiz Khalifa Songs

In the music world, influence manifests itself in many different ways. Whether it be sonically — changing the sounds that artists use and often creating some sort of new trend and/or subgenre in the process — or aesthetically — changing the “cool” styles in music and the lifestyles that artists speak about in their songs — influence can arrive packaged as a quick viral moment or a lasting flame, both of which hold value in their own rights.  Pittsburgh’s own, the Taylor Gang representative himself, Wiz Khalifa, is one of the rare talents who comes around and entirely shifts the culture in both of the aforementioned ways. Especially when he first came out, Wiz’s lanky, tattooed build and effortlessly cool stoner lifestyle made him a genuinely alluring artist, and while his personal style (snapbacks, the dyed patch of hair, etc.) was worthy of mention, the music was there to back it all up. Simply put, Wiz’s style, both on the mic and off, quickly set a standard for creatives and other artists to congregate toward, marking him as one of music’s most underrated culture-shifters of the last decade or so. Even further, beyond the influence that Wiz has had on a …

H2O – [Maajei Vu]

Maajei Vu came on my radar last year thanks to his work with one of the best producers in the game, Cardo (See “Aloe”). Though not the sound you might expect when you think of the hit-making producer, it was easy to see why he took an interest in the young crooner; his talent leaps out at you. On his latest project, however, the first since 2017, Maajei Vu pulls double duty, handling the vocals and the production, and delivering on both fronts. Vocally, the Milwaukee native has such a smooth, inviting style, he could easily go the more traditional R&B route and deliver, but his production gives him such a refreshing, unique feel. A fitting name, H20 is so fluid thanks to some electronic-inspired production laden with crisp drums. Maajei’s boardwork sucks you into its light, hypnotic atmosphere while keeping you on your toes with some unique, engaging transitions and switch-ups. The result us a stellar, start-to-finish (then over again) listen. Standout cut: “Nosebleeds” Stream H20 at the link provided below!

Smoke Up – [Levi Carter]

Levi Carter is officially back, and he’s back with a vengeance. Today, the budding star is here on our pages to share the long-awaited visuals for his CardoGotWings-produced song, “Smoke Up.” Hazy as can be and doused in the towering charisma that fans know and love Carter for, the accompanying music video for this one is a perfect testament to the contagious energy of Carter’s music. Quite effortlessly, he’s able to grab listeners’ attention and hold it, using a clear creative vision and a confident stature as his weapons of choice. In the “Smoke Up” visuals, these attributes are illustrated with a stream of colorful effects and cinematic scenes, all of which help make “Smoke Up” even more special of a release than it already was. That said, Levi Carter’s re-entrance into the spotlight is definitely going to shake things up in rap, as it won’t be long until everyone is talking about the “Smoke Up” artist and his next-level artistry. I can’t wait, but don’t just take my word for it — check out the new visuals at the link below and follow Carter on Twitter here for updates on new music, visuals, and more! Song Produced by CardoGotWingz …

Don Ricardo Drive (Paranoia) – [Patrick Michel]

Hailing from Brockton, Massachusetts, Patrick Michel is at the head of the charge right now in terms of Massachusetts artists who are quickly bringing attention toward their home state. Michel’s skills reside most impactfully in his soul-stricken vocals and commanding presence when on the mic, and today, he’s here to show this off with a hard-nosed new offering by the name of “Don Ricardo Drive (Paranoia)”. Produced by fellow MA talent, Maka, this track takes on a powerful nature from the very first seconds, as the simplistic piano melodies clash against the trap-induced drums with ease. When matched with Patrick Michel’s vivid lyrics and energetic vocals, “Don Ricardo Drive” becomes a banger at heart, and the result is a piece of undeniable proof why Michel is set to have a blockbuster year in 2019. Be sure to get hip by listening to the new single below and let us know what you think in the comment section! Produced by Maka

Gang Activities – [Baby Keem]

  Looking back on some of the most impressive releases I wrote about in 2018, one project that simply demands acclaim is Baby Keem’s The Sound of Bad Habit. Wise beyond his years, Keem’s style is best identifiable by galvanizing flows and hard-nosed deliveries, meshing together to make for some truly impressive raps — just ask hit-making producer Cardo Got Wings, and he’ll tell you the same. Today, Keem is back on Lyrical Lemonade with a brand new set of visuals for one of the project’s standout songs, “Gang Activities”. Taking on a unique visual direction, one of the most notable, and quite frankly, legendary, features of this video is that it’s actually directed by none other than Shia Labeouf. The joining of forces between Keem and Shia certainly isn’t something that I saw coming, but nevertheless, it works seamlessly, as Shia clearly understands how to translate the energy of “Gang Activities” directly to the screen. I could go on about this one all day long, but instead, I’ll just let “Gang Activities” speak for itself. Click play below, and if you haven’t already, check out The Sound of Bad Habit here!

Pi’erre & Cardo’s Wild Adventure – [Pi’erre Bourne] [Cardo Got Wings]

If we’re talking about trendsetters in rap right now, Pi’erre Bourne needs to be one of the first names that come up in the conversation. He has been, and always will be, one step ahead of his competitors and then some, just as fans are able to see in Pi’erre’s latest, Pi’erre & Cardo’s Wild Adventure, alongside fellow hitmaker and stylistic trailblazer, Cardo Got Wings — a tape which, all besides two songs, was recorded on Christmas Eve. 14 tracks long, this tape is most definitely the best gift I received for Christmas this year. The pairing of Cardo and Pi’erre is like putting LeBron and Jordan on the same team, and with the constant alley-oops between production and vocals, each song on this one will be sure to make its way into my heavy rotation. I could talk about the greatness of Pi’erre & Cardo’s Wild Adventure all day long, but in this case, I’ll just let the music speak for itself. Oh, and by the way, in case you weren’t already excited enough, the next tape that Pi’erre has on the way is the long-awaited TLOP4. So we have that going for us, too. Get lost in the worlds of Pi’erre and Cardo by streaming …

Miss Charlotte – [Baby Keem]

Baby Keem is up next, just mark my words. Today, the rising talent is here to prove that there’s substance behind the hype with a cinematic new set of visuals for the song “Miss Charlotte” off of his recently-released project, The Sound of Bad Habit. Taking to colorful scenes of Keem spending the day and night with his girl, this music video finds our hero in his most natural state as he walks around with a captivating, leisurely charisma. The energy that his verses exhibit translates seamlessly onto the screen, and without breaking a sweat, Keem offers up a release just as appealing visually as it is sonically. This budding talent is a must-watch, so check out “Miss Charlotte” below and follow Baby Keem on Twitter here! Directed by Chris Parsons Produced by Cardo Got Wings