Run Fast – [Billy Lemos] x [JJ]

There are few songs that came out this year that I could remember hearing for the first time as vividly as “Here I Found / No Self Control” by Billy Lemos. The gloomy, tempo-changing and constantly evolving amalgamation of distorted sound stays imprinted in a listener’s mind, thriving off the fact that it can’t quite be placed in any one particular genre or sonic aesthetic. This elusive quality made me want to listen to that song over and over again, and that same quality resonates on Lemos’ new song out today, titled “Run Fast”. Vocals from songwriter JJ set the scene for this single, opening up with a dramatic acapella introduction. You’re brought into the world of the song layer by layer, slowly building up to a very unexpected, but oddly fitting drop. Lemos’ experiment with song structure, similar to “No Self Control”, pays off once again. It flirts with the line between intentional and gimmicky but gracefully comes out on the side of the former, as each subsequent beat change feels purposeful and fully fleshed out. After the rave-like barrage of electronic drums and glitched-out synths that mark the first drop, the composition subsides again, stripped back down to …

Before I Knew It – [King Khali]

Atlanta-born/Texas-based rapper King Khali has just released a deeply personal new project entitled ‘Before I Knew It’. A chronicle of Khali’s life experiences moving to Texas and encounters with felony charges in his past, ‘Before I Knew It’ illustrates a rare example of a new voice tapping solely into his own reality to construct a fully-fleshed out conceptual album. Khali builds off previous aesthetics of his music to further prove that he thrives in the dark, crafting his most vivid bars over moodier production. Even on this album’s more upbeat moments, a layer of gloominess pervades, adding melodrama to the otherwise real stories Khali is telling. His voice hits with the force of a seasoned veteran, fueled by a bravado that refuses to be questioned and carries with it a weight of certainty that could only be borne out of authenticity. Khali’s ability to speak from personal experience has a genuineness to it that’s refreshing. Instead of following pre-paved formulas for success, Khali’s in the process of chartering his own, and ‘Before I Knew It’ is a promising sign that he’s well on his way. His efforts to incorporate more melodic moments end up paying off, leading to catchy, memorable …

Come Over Sober – [Amber Ryann]

Los Angeles based singer Amber Ryann drops a new smooth and traumatic record entitled “Come Over Sober.” Amber’s new single it an intimate take on the mess of traumatic thoughts and feelings that come to head in a relationship that’s nearing an end. “Come Over, Sober” infuses all the colors of anger, sadness, and resentment to paint a vivid picture of the darker side of love. The search for closure is a journey through the darkness of pain and out into the light of self-acceptance and empowerment, and Amber is here to help you cope with the drama. Ryann’s meaningful lyrics over a smooth, melodic instrumental guide you through your latest break-up, fight, or anything someone is currently putting you through. This is the second single released off Amber’s forthcoming seven-song extended play ‘A Call To A Friend’. If you checked out her first single “B.N.W.” you should expect deep and meaningful content on the rest of the project-based off the two singles released thus far. Stream Amber Ryann’s new single “Come Over Sober” below.

Frio – [Omar Apollo]

With a year marked by the release of his ‘Friends’ project, multiple headlining tours, and performances at some of the largest music festivals, Omar Apollo’s trajectory only seems to heighten with time. The Indiana native’s growth doesn’t only reflect in his career, but in his music too, as he has proven himself as an artist who’s not content with sticking to one specific sound throughout his music. Today, Apollo experiments with his sound even further, teaming up with Kenny Beats for a new song titled “Frio”. While most of Apollo’s music so far has stayed true to the indie/alternative outfit that he’s crafted since he first started releasing music, there’s undoubtedly always been an emphasis on making music that you can also dance to. “Frio” fully encompasses that danceable quality of Apollo’s songwriting, drawing heavily upon reggaeton rhythms that characterize the bulk of its production. On top of the hip-winding beat, Apollo’s alluring vocals become the focal point, drawing a listener in with dramatic passion and harmony. “Frio” marks a detour from Apollo’s usual style, albeit not a surprising one, and he fully embodies the seductive mood of the track in a way that maintains authenticity.

Love, Of Money – [Mavi]

Mavi’s new album Let The Sun Talk proves that the twenty-year old Charolette-native has the world at his fingertips. Mavi raps through experience and nothing but experience, and not one bar is wasted throughout the entirety of his new project. He’s been through quite a bit, and has the self awareness to put his story into song in compelling fashion across a number of impressive tracks with what is undoubtedly one of the great albums of 2019. Mavi has a new set of visuals to accompany “Love, Of Money”, one of the many standouts from the project. It’s one of the dreamier tracks on the record, and Mavi displays his versatility as he floats over this hypnotizing instrumental, keeping a tight rhyme scheme despite his complacent cadence, which complements not only the production (done by Nate & Nova Blu), but also the sentiment of the track. The visuals here are comprised of just two shots, the first of which is a one-minute tracking shot that follows Mavi for the entirety of “Love, Of Money”. Mavi’s delivery is one of his strengths: his ability to convey emotion though his vocals is what makes him the real deal, and the visuals for this first part …

#RobInSeason! – [RobOlu] ft. [YGTUT]

Atlanta’s RobOlu has elevated his stature dramatically in the past year and much of this was catalyzed by the release of his memorable B.M.W. EP and more recently Rob continued to turn heads with his “Gary Payton Freestyle.” Now Olu is back with a new single alongside Chattanooga staple YGTUT titled “#RobInSeason,” and this song is every bit as menacing as the title suggests. SodaSlim provided an ominous instrumental with an eerie melody and crashing percussion that perfectly suits Olu’s impassioned delivery. TUT’s verse is solid and he falls in well alongside his ATL counterpart. RobOlu is one of the more promising talents coming out of Atlanta and I am excited to see what he can do with all of this momentum for the rest of the year. Stream “#RobInSeason!” here:

Dellwood Market – [Rahli]

To me, one of the greatest qualities a rapper can possess is the ability to create an accurate and gritty picture of the place they’re from purely from the sound of their delivery and instrumentals alone. Many artists have had this talent and gone far because of it and after his newest project Dellwood Market, St. Louis rapper Rahli ought to be added to this impressive list. His delivery style is rabid and impassioned and he almost slobbers through his most potent and emotional passages, but these gritty and reckless vocals accurately match the atmosphere he comes from. St. Louis has seen a dramatic decline in industry and a sharp upturn in poverty and violence in the past decade and Rahli stands as an accurate synecdoche for this turbulent area. My favorite track from the mixtape was the third-person account Rahli gives on “In & Out” where we learned a great deal about Rahli’s upbringing and his long-standing relationship with Dellwood. Dellwood Market has some star-studded production, featuring work from many of hip-hop’s biggest names currently and Rahli shows enough versatility to feel at home on any of these styles. The melodic “Any Moment” was not something that I anticipated being in Rahli’s wheelhouse …

Jack Harlow’s ‘Confetti’ Validates He’s a Jack of All Trades

Post by Lee Mcintosh When it comes to hip hop, regional dominance plays a major factor in the overall impact and imprint that a region leaves on the culture. New York, LA, Chicago and Atlanta being the most recent, all have had numerous instances where artists seemingly sprouted all at once. However, it isn’t everyday that we hear an artist come out of Kentucky (the last being Bryson Tiller) and claim the throne as one of the best new artists to come out in this generation. All that being said, Louisville native Jack Harlow is here with his latest project, Confetti, and he’s ready to let the game know that he’s here and he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. — The Backstory Although many people are just now getting hip to Jack’s music, he is far from a “new” artist, per se. His career began as early as 2015, when he would release projects under the Private Garden indie label that he co-founded. Years of playing the independent game finally paid off for Jack when he was introduced to the legendary DJ Drama. The pure talent impressed Drama enough to sign Jack to his Generation Now label under Atlantic Records — the …

Run It Up – [Juice]

Making his Lyrical Lemonade debut is a melodic powerhouse out of Toronto who goes by the name of Juice. Late last week, Juice dropped a video for his new single “Run It Up” and it is a triumphant track aimed to celebrate the lavish life rap has brought him. As soon as the 808’s kick in on the string-heavy production, Juice begins delivery his melody heavy bars its clear he’s been paying attention to some of the hottest out right now and making it his own. One of the best moments in “Run It Up” is the use of whistling in the production, it seems to hit at the perfect time adding a dramatic effect to Juice’s smooth delivery. This is the second music video Juice has dropped in recent weeks, his visuals are always well developed, often living large as many rappers with new found fame do. Juice has been delivering some quality content as of late, check out his new video below!

Graffiti EP – [Roy Blair]

Earlier this month, indie songwriter Roy Blair dropped a three-track EP titled ‘Graffiti’. The LA-based artist, who broke through with his viral track “Thunder” in 2016, expands his music into new territory with ‘Graffiti’ while still holding onto the angst-ridden, heartfelt sound that listeners have been grappling onto ever since his debut. With the opening track “I DONT KNOW ABOUT HIM”, Blair’s able to recapture the epic-ness of songs like “Thunder”, making use of roaring harmonies and distortion to give the song a wide dynamic range. While the depth of Blair’s music is a signature quality of his, he also shows more restraint in his production choices on this EP, making the most of the tools he does use. “FANTAZIA”, for example, highlights Blair experimenting with glitchy effects that result in what sounds like a broken-down disco record, grounded in his high-pitched choral vocals. He then returns to form on “YOU WERENT ENOUGH”—an emotional ballad that’s driven by Blair’s vulnerable songwriting as he pieces back together what sounds like a broken relationship. The melodrama plays out over multiple movements, as the song’s instrumentation mirrors the phases of the narrative. It’s on this track that his strength at challenging predictable song …