SEARCH FOR: PAT RON

FOTO – [Kota The Friend]

Where he saw room for a path, Brooklyn’s Kota The Friend created one. I’ve been aware of this budding talent for some time now, and simply by maintaining a consistent, high-quality level of output, Kota’s journey has been an undeniably lovable one. There aren’t any gimmicks involved — he makes great music, his guiding principle of authenticity never ceases to bleed through the music, and his clear creative vision has made for countless visuals and songs in the past, all of which have shown great development throughout Kota’s career. Today, these sentiments come full circle with the release of Kota The Friend’s long-awaited debut album, FOTO. 19 songs long, FOTO is definitely a longer album, but quite honestly, it gets away with it because of Kota’s storytelling abilities. His character arc throughout the album tracks the journey of someone truly questioning himself and the world around him, using the wins, the losses, and confusion as his map toward the light at the end of the tunnel. In general, the jazzy, lush instrumentals make sense for such a reflective release, and by the time the last few songs roll around, this inviting sonic environment and around-the-campfire lyricism make you feel as though you …

See If I Mean It – [Adrian Stresow]

Making a strong return to our pages today, Dallas artist Adrian Stresow releases a brand new visual for his Be Safe Out There lead single titled “See If I Mean It”. After taking a break from releasing for a few months, Adrian’s fans have been patiently waiting for his highly anticipated summer album. Announcing it earlier last week, he dropped the only single from the album accompanied by this incredible film below. Throughout the visual, which was directed by Zack Hefley, Adrian takes his fans on a journey through the last year of his life, including scenes from festival performances, private listening sessions, and trips that he’s taken to various cities within the US. Adrian’s upcoming album is set to drop next Wednesday, May 22, with seven additional tracks for a total of eight that will ultimately fabricate the message that Adrian has in mind. Be sure to watch Stresow’s visual for “See If I Mean It” below and follow him on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date with news regarding Be Safe Out There!

Deem Spencer: Low-Key Taking the Legacy of Queens Hip-Hop Into Soulful, Vulnerable, Experimental Directions

Hip-hop is a big tent, with room for all kinds of voices, vibes, looks and personalities, right? Or at least, it ought to be. Too often though, as in other genres, one success story spawns scores of imitators, and A&R reps, managers and promoters—not generally known for seeking out the most unique and unconventional voices out there—scramble to find the next version of that person who blew up a few months back. Duplication is rewarded, and deviation from the commercially proven is viewed as suspect. Likewise, in a crowded landscape marked by a perpetual jockeying for attention on IG and Twitter, it’s often the loudest voices, the most colorful characters and outsize personalities that win the day and, of course, grab that money. Sometimes they’re little more than personality, but they know how to get noticed. So where does that leave a rapper with a subtler, less flashy, more low-key approach? Ask Deem Spencer. A product of south side Jamaica, Queens—a stone’s throw from JFK Airport—Spencer is a far cry from the noisy jets that populate his neighborhood, and not exactly a sonic descendant of Jamaica’s most celebrated musical idols, 50 Cent and G-Unit, though he’s a lifelong fan. With …

Injury Reserve: Commitment to Quality

Ahead of their self-titled major label debut album, we look at what makes Injury Reserve great, and why they should be admired by not just up and coming artists, but all artists. In an era where 20+ song albums laden with filler have become an unfortunate commonality, artists who truly care about pushing the hip-hop genre forward and taking risks are hard to come by, and often end up lurking in the shadows. Armed with their original ideas and captivating creative arcs, these artists not only make for longevity, but impact, just as well. Injury Reserve is a hip-hop outfit hailing from Arizona that has been consistently dropping boundary-pushing and inventive rap music for a few years now. The group consists of two emcees, Ritchie with a T, and Stepa J. Groggs, along with the glue of the group, producer Parker Corey. There is a clear sense of care and attentiveness to detail when it comes to the entire package of Injury Reserve. Not only is the music polished and amusing, but so are the visuals (directed by Parker Corey) and the live shows. On an adjacent note, the group’s live performance, in particular, had me, along with the rest …

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 …

G33K3D – [Castro Guapo]

In the era of inspiring lyrical content making an aggressive comeback, there is always room for drug-fuelled rap anthems like “G33K3D”. A member of Toronto’s energetic rap collective CMDWN, Castro Guapo is an emcee that is known for his intense delivery. Castro is able to take over any beat he raps on, hitting all marks as if each song was crafted specifically for him to body. On this latest offering, Castro brings his typical level of creativity and lyricism to his vicious bars that hit hard over the Earth-shaking 808s and rolling hi-hats. Unlike most Canadian artists, Castro made the move to Toronto from Atlanta providing a completely unique sound that is a perfect hybrid of the two cities. An unfamiliar path for many artists, the influences from both cities are evident throughout Castro’s music. This is the first release to come from either CMDWN Collective member this year. Hopefully, it is a sign that Castro and Fiji are gearing up to release Atlanada 3 this year. Steam the “G33K3D” below and be on the lookout for new music from CMDWN soon! Produced by DNNY PHNTM & Bijan Amir

slowthai: Ready to Disrupt

Culture — whether it be movies, music, painting, etc. — doesn’t move forward without disruption. In fact, nothing does. Progression is simply a result of dissatisfaction or disapproval of a norm, and furthermore, “influence” is merely a term assigned to those willing to spark change, often out of necessity. Northampton artist slowthai is one of music’s archetypal disruptors right now. Especially in the midst of Brexit, his outspoken charm and raw, politically-charged stature are impossible to ignore. Thai’s ability to speak through the perpetual tension in the air is one that demands recognition, and technical skill and true artistry aside, his allure is one that you can’t help but rally behind, mainly because he’s fostered a fiery means of expression worth rallying around in the first place. The artist born Tyron Kaymone Frampton is a voice for the voiceless, a face for the faceless, and an artist so unafraid of the power of his art that he’s become just as much a spokesman for his rural hometown of Northampton as he has the cutting edge of British music. Ahead of his forthcoming debut album, Nothing Great About Britain (due for release on May 17th), Thai’s unconventional charge to the forefront of British rap is a …

Faded in the Booth – [Young Nudy]

Coming out of Atlanta over the past few years, few artists, if any, have matched the level of consistency and individuality that Young Nudy brings to the table every time he hits the mic. Not only are Nudy’s eccentric vocals and alluring deliveries pleasing on a sonic level, but the lyrics that they highlight are just as impressive on a technical scale, proving the mark of an artist who seemingly can do no wrong. Today, as fans still impatiently await the release of Nudy and Pi’erre Bourne’s forthcoming project, Slim’erre, Nudy is back to bless us with an appetizer entitled Faded in the Booth. 12 tracks long, Faded in the Booth was actually a surprise release, and immediately after being texted by a friend that it was released, I ran over to Twitter to see what the conversation was about Nudy’s latest. As expected, the main sentiment was that Young Nudy really dropped a for-fun mixtape before the album, and it’s still one of the best projects of the year, and after listening to this one three times in the past two days, I can’t help but agree. Faded in the Booth is a title connotated with a certain intimacy and effortless cool that …

Bellwood Product – [Caleb Steph]

In life, we’re all a product of our environment to an extent, and further, we all possess an innate pride and love for our origins, wherever they may be. Music often reflects this sentiment, as rap’s obsession with geographic location often yields thoughtful reflections of parts of the country that we may never visit, but can temporarily transport to through music. Proving this exact idea today, one of my favorite recent discoveries, Caleb Steph, is here with his highly-anticipated debut project, Bellwood Product. Paying homage to the apartments where Steph was raised, this Virginia-minded EP brings listeners directly into the complexities of the budding talent’s world, as visions of temptations both good and evil constantly push back and forth from the opening seconds all the way to the album’s close. Throughout the space in between, Steph provides ample evidence of the lyrical prowess that listeners have come to know and love him for, producing an album of two central functions: first, to introduce Caleb Steph to the world and track the journey that made him the man he is today, and second, to illustrate a raw, soul-stricken display of the atmosphere and circumstances that we often aren’t exposed to. Achieving both …

Paid in Full – [SAFE] ft. [Playboi Carti]

After a long hiatus, SAFE has returned with an updated sound and a direct path to superstardom. In the time following his critically acclaimed debut project, Stay Down, in 2016, the budding talent has kept an incredibly low profile, although he broke the silence last year dropping 2 singles in 2018, leaving fans questioning when a new feature-length project would arrive. Luckily, this week, SAFE made two exciting appearances, first providing a feature for Khalid’s sophomore album, which was followed by a Playboi Carti-assisted single, “Paid In Full,” that is sure to be in heavy rotation for old fans and new. In this single, SAFE effortlessly cruises along a bubbly Pluss-produced beat that seems to bring out the best in both artists while Carti delivers in his regular fashion alongside the Toronto native. It’s as promising as ever that we’ll receive more music from SAFE in the near future and there are serious signs that he has been working a number of talented artists and producers. After last week’s releases, I will be anxiously anticipating the follow up to his debut, hopefully dropping sometime before the summer. Stream the new single below!