Terror Management – [Billy Woods]

Billy Woods isn’t the easiest artist to write about. There’s so much that can be said about the range of ideas packed into his verses. Based solely on his bars, there’s no doubt that the man is a genius, and he puts this on display once more with his second album in 2019, Terror Management. It follows the Kenny Segal-produced Hiding Places from April, and this one proves his consistency and versatility more than ever.  Terror Management is all over the place, which serves as a nice contrast to the more cohesive and linear Hiding Places. There are genuinely pretty moments standing right next to startling and dark ones on Terror Management, like the track “Birdsong”, which consists of two wildly different parts. Messiah Musik, Preservation, and Blockhead each produced multiple tracks here, Elucid handles the beat on “Cornstarch”, and Uncommon Nasa contributes a noisy, thumping beat on “Gas Leak” that Billy absolutely bodies.  Lyrically, Billy seems to be in a rut similar to the one he found himself in on Hiding Places, as he touches on a range of topics, some political, and some personal. He continues to prove what makes him such a great lyricist, as this project features …

Sacrifices – [Mavi] [Navy Blue]

North Carolina native Mavi has to be one of my favorite artists right now. Orbiting the budding scene of just-left-of-center, soulful acts such as MIKE, Pink Siifu, Caleb Giles, Slauson Malone, and more, the rising talent has become a clear diamond in the ruff, consistently delivering verses that require a minimum of ten listens to totally understand. Even beyond his talents as a lyricist, though, Mavi knows how to keep a crowd, using the soul-stricken, almost weathered nature of his voice to perfect his storytelling proclamations. Today, in collaboration with the ever-talented Navy Blue, Mavi is back with a new single entitled “Sacrifices.” In the song’s opening seconds, Navy Blue lets out a triumphant “This a marathon sprint,” setting the tone for the song’s heart-ridden lyricism and foot-on-the-line sense of sincerity. Even in these general, oddly profound statements that Mavi and crew always seem to let out, there’s something further below the surface in the idea of such loyal, thoughtful artists making music without any air of compromise. In every way, they are their purest selves, just as “Sacifices” can attest. On the production side of things, the new single sounds as though it’s been marinating in soul all day …

Off Me! “The Wake” Pt. 2 – [Slauson Malone] ft. [Pink Siifu]

There’s something intangible that happens when a musician’s and music video director’s minds are on the same wavelength—something just sort of clicks at the right moment that resonates with a viewer and elevates the music to a different plane. The visual accompaniment for “Off Me! ‘The Wake’ Pt. 2’ offers a shining example of that harmony as hip-hop producer Slauson Malone and director Bolade Banjo execute a vision so aligned with the music that its difficult to separate the two mediums from one another. The track off Malone’s sonically disruptive album ‘A Quiet Farewell, Twenty Sixteen to Twenty Eighteen’ offers up an ode to moments of transience. A melancholic guitar greets a listener before booming kicks and stabbing horns pull the curtain back to unveil a dizzying array of sounds that mimics the motion of a crashing tide. This motif of movement holds constant all throughout Malone’s record and Banjo, who also created the album’s cover art, meditates on this concept for the music video. A member of the London-based art collective Gully Type, Banjo weaves together vignettes that depict phases of a relationship from the initial fall to the inevitable break. These short, non-linear compositions match Malone’s frenzied, jazz-influenced …

Quicksand – [Caleb Giles] ft. [Pink Siifu]

New York has been responsible for some of hip-hop’s most intriguing experimental sounds lately, and multi-faceted musician Caleb Giles has been at the epicenter of it all. On his latest single, “Quicksand”, the Bronx-based artist mixes soul samples, jazzy instrumentation, and glitchy effects to form the soundtrack for his stream of consciousness. From the moment it starts, “Quicksand” feels like its being played live. Every moment of the track feels deliberate, whether its the initial stab of the song’s intro or Giles’ tightly crafted flows interwoven throughout the song. Pink Siifu, whose 2018 project ‘Ensley‘ also possesses a similar live feeling to it, adds a guest verse that matches the track’s soul and builds upon the motivational tone of Giles’ verses. “Just trust in me; just run with me”, Giles pleads on the uplifting hook just as the beat erupts into a soulful choir and buzzing bass line. Listen to “Quicksand” below:

Get Up – [Judah] ft. [Pink Siifu]

Quite honestly, in all of my time writing and digging through music, I’ve learned that above all things, you can’t argue with soul. When an artist truly shows an ingrained passion in their art, there’s always going to be value to what they have to say, just as we see with Judah’s new single “Get Up” alongside Pink Siifu. Backed by a key-led instrumental, the relaxed, reflective tone of this offering, as well as the dense lyrical performances provided by Judah and Siffu, give “Get Up” a therapeutic tint. Something about the song makes it feel like time slows down just a bit, allowing the two artists to get their space and deliver some refreshing lines in the process. For both the listener and the performers themselves, “Get Up” almost holds a communal personality in this sense, as the nonchalant mood arrives with a candid connotation that you can’t help but find yourself mesmerized with. Needless to say, this song is a must-listen, so be sure to check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!

A Quiet Farewell, 2016–2018 – [Slauson Malone]

Starting things off with a vocal sample that proclaims, “the world is coming to an end,” Slauson Malone’s unbelievable new project, A Quiet Farewell, 2016-2018, is a beautiful deconstruction of sound, chaos, and life, all fit under the reach of 20 songs. Quite frankly, after listening to this project twice so far, I’m not even entirely sure that I have any of the right words to describe the glorious splashes of color that characterize this such profound eccentricity. What I can say, however, is that Slauson Malone’s sound and style are completely out of orbit with anything else I’ve heard this year, and I mean that in the best way possible. Speaking to this point, with features from Caleb Giles, Maxo, Medhane, Pink Siifu, and several others, Malone’s marriage between obscure sampling, soulful features, and a cluttered creative direction is one that communicates an ingrained sense of soul, both in the music itself and in its structural integrity. He’s an artist’s artist, and one that refuses to be anything but himself — a trait that, upon listening to A Quiet Farewell, 2016-2018, I can firmly say is one of Malone’s best. This project is an absolute gem, so be sure to give it …

Lil Big Man – [Maxo]

As an artist, longevity can often be found in honesty. Rather than painting pictures of the life that an artist wants or sees others living, it’s more impactful when music speaks on reality, regardless of how difficult or easy reality truly is. For Def Jam-signee Maxo, this honesty is a virtue, and no better body of work could exemplify this than his new album, Lil Big Man. 10 tracks long, Lil Big Man finds beauty in the eyes of struggle, using dense, weary-eyed bouts of introspection to show the ways in which Maxo makes peace with himself and his life each day. The LA native is figuring it out just like us all, and his latest project is simply an open-book reflection of this sentiment, allowing him to achieve a level of candid authenticity that can’t be imitated. That said, to be human is to be flawed, and Maxo is here to document his own struggles in a cathartic manner that we can all relate to and learn from. In addition to the lyrical prowess presented on this record, the soulful bed of production here is what truly pushes Lil Big Man to become the standout project that it is. Each beat knocks with …

By Any Means – [Pink Siifu] ft. [Maxo]

In my eyes, longevity is a fairly easy aspect of an artist to judge, as you can tell when someone is trend-following versus when they’re innovating so as to make a splash in the long run. In the case of Pink Siifu, innovation and creativity are at the forefront of the music, constantly challenging one another to take the next step forward. Today, in a perfect display of this, Siifu is back on Lyrical Lemonade with a vivid new set of visuals for the song “By Any Means” featuring Maxo. Concocted with soul-stricken vocals and a breezy set of guitar riffs, this track thrives in its ability to illustrate a picture in the listener’s mind. Siifu’s slow-burning style is almost overwhelming in just how much it commands attention, and only adding fuel to the fire are aesthetically-pleasing visuals that refuse to back down from the deeply reflective nature of “By Any Means”. Sonically, this track watches as problems of life grab at each of the two artists, and visually, this is translated seamlessly to the screen. I could go on about this one all day, but the fact of the matter is that Pink Siifu just dropped off one his …

On To Better Things – [Adé Hakim]

Adé Hakim, or Sixpress, as some may know him, is the kind of artist whom you can’t listen to just once. Lyrically, he’s multi-layered and introspective, while sonically, his dusty instrumentals and slow-burning samples explore worlds of their own creation, all without compromising the themes of quality or honesty within Hakim’s catalog. Today, the rising talent puts this all on display with his latest project, On To Better Things. Admittedly, we’re a few weeks late on this release, but nevertheless, it’s worthy of attention, as Hakim’s soulful presence on the mic makes for a captivating project in all 34 minutes of its duration. On To Better Things comes to terms with the realities of life, and it presents these lessons learned in an engaging sonic atmosphere, allowing for listeners of all different interests to enjoy a project of such unrivaled authenticity. Alongside features from Cleo Reed, King Carter, Pink Siifu, MIKE, Alphonse, and Jodi, this project finds Adé Hakim at home in both sound and delivery, so be sure to show some love and stream the project below. Hakim’s got next.

Trauma – [Pink Siifu]

Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Pink Siifu is an artist who never ceases to operate at his own pace. His other-worldly style takes influence from obscure samples and relentless bouts of soul, translating into a sense of personal style that reflects timelessness in ways that many artists aren’t capable of. Today, Siifu makes his way to Lyrical Lemonade with a new video for “Trauma”, in which he takes on the bright lights of New York City. Cinematic scenes watch the rising talent walk through the streets as he preaches the lyrics to his song, working with a gorgeous aesthetic that communicates the intimacy of his soulful sound. His entire project, ensley, is available to purchase on Bandcamp, so show some love to this promising talent by checking out his album here and watching the new video at the link below! Directed by Noah Porter