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Evolving with Chicago’s own D2X

A year ago, I spoke to D2X over the phone. The then 20-year-old rapper from Chicago’s south suburbs was just about to release his debut EP ‘Enjoy Life’. The EP, as its title might suggest, communicated a mindset that the rising artist had finally settled on: after backing out of college basketball offers, recording in a professional studio for the first time, and finding confidence in his skills as a rapper, D2X was finally ready to pursue that which truly made him happy. Now, on a mid-July afternoon, as the sunlight starts to barely creep in through the boarded-up window panes, D2X sits next to me on a couch in the lounge of the Lyrical Lemonade office. He’s joined by his right-hand producer Glohan Beats and friends/photographers John and Tove. A can of lemonade in hand, D2X starts to catch me up on what has changed since we last spoke. His viral track “Woop Woop” got played on Chicago’s legendary Power 92 radio station, and recently he’s headlined his first concert as part of Illanoize Radio’s Let’s Get Social series. Though these career highlights stand out in our conversation, what’s most apparent is how D2X’s demeanor feels almost exactly the same …

Honest – [Baby Keem]

Las Vegas rapper Baby Keem continues to apply pressure and releases psychedelic and euphoric visuals for his single “Honest.” Director James R. Weneta and Keem do a masterful job in piecing together the shots and different scenes for this video. The video kicks off with Keem resting peacefully before we venture into his mind to explore what’s going on in the teenage rappers subconscious. They keep the video interesting with the panning of the camera from scene to scene to capture different moments in the song as Baby Keem melodically glides over Honest’s instrumental. Even though it has been a couple of weeks since its release Baby Keem’s album ‘Die For My Bitch’ has been one of the albums I’ve been going back to daily because of songs like this. With “Honest” you hear vulnerable bars from Keem as he explains the constant tug of war he deals with from women, fame and himself. “Honest” sounds like if Kendrick Lamar and Kid Cudi had a baby and spat out a track that embodies an eerie but serene vibe. Watch Baby Keem’s video for “Honest” after the break.

Our 50 Favorite Kid Cudi Songs

Bravery in vulnerability. Honesty in the face of pain. Effortless trend-setting. Undying authenticity. Inimitable talent. Astonishing hooks, soaring highs, and heartfelt lows. Creative ambition. The list goes on. These attributes and so many more are what makes Kid Cudi a living legend. From his stature as one of the most sonically and aesthetically influential artists alive to an entire catalog of classic albums, mixtapes, features, and chart-topping singles, there’s no denying the sheer impact and importance of the Cleveland-bred artist. His contributions not only to music, but to mental health awareness, fashion, and even acting range over a broad palette of interests and ventures, all of which bring fans back to the one and only Scott Mescudi — a multi-talented star in every right and the kind of artist and human that only comes around once in a lifetime. For our team at Lyrical Lemonade and for countless others, Kid Cudi has soundtracked some of our best moments in life just as much as he’s saved and helped us in our worst. With this in mind, to say that Kid Cudi is an artist for all occasions is an understatement, and furthermore, to say that he’s touched countless lives is …

Rich Girls – [Sachi]

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to sit down and talk to an up and coming artist named Sachi. If the name looks familiar to you, that’s because we have featured him many times on the pages on Lyrical Lemonade. With the anticipation of his latest song release, I thought that this was a great chance to get an inside look at who Sachi is and learn more about why he has such a bright future in this industry. Sachi’s musical journey was definitely a journey to say the least. He started playing guitar when he was 7 and started singing when he was 10. At age 16, he auditioned for a talent agency in Orlando and ended up staying there; He was a part of a band and appeared on TV shows. Once that stint was over, he moved back to his hometown of Philly and started taking music seriously. Once he realized this was a passion of his, he moved to LA after high school and tried to just figure it all out. One thing led to another and Sachi ended up meeting his manager. Picking up to where we are today, Sachi is still …

Turn Myself In – [Lil Durk]

Well, it’s been a few weeks since one of our favorites and Englewood’s own Lil Durk has been incarcerated. As fans, there’s only so much we can do outside of merely expressing our sympathies and support of Durkio. “Turn Myself In” is the latest single from Durk, in which he proclaims his final plea before he would turn himself into authorities. The cover tells a story, with an image of diamond-crusted Cuban link handcuffs locked around his wrists. He expresses his frustrations, crying out to God for help and preaching how support was lost when he was most in need. “Yeah yeah yeah God can you hear me, yeah yeah yeah n****s ain’t really with me.” Durk would go on hours later to turn himself into police, as he stated on both his Twitter and Instagram pages. The song’s melodic cries of reflection express his regrets, explain his decisions, and communicate some final messages before his incarceration. The track brings a bittersweet feel, with the sound itself being a smooth piece, but the overall vibe being somewhat somber upon Durkio’s recent lock-up. Stream “Turn Myself In” below!

Tyler, The Creator’s IGOR: The Most Accurate and Mature Interpretation of Heartbreak

Heartbreak is an indescribable feeling that blends mental and physical pain into a bane that one wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. It’s been awhile since it’s been so accurately portrayed in the form of a full-length album, at least as accurately as Tyler, The Creator has on his new record IGOR, which cements him as one of the best artists of our generation. IGOR is an amalgamation of profuse and delightful arrangements — pulling elements from jazz, pop, soul, rap, electronic music, and more into his most focused and cohesive, but also unpredictable project to date. Tyler finds peace in accepting the outcome of a relationship, creating an immersive soundscape full of catchy love tunes, balancing brashness and beauty in a way that exquisitely captures the joy, sorrow, and anger of a loving but unhealthy relationship that takes a turn for the worst. IGOR represents the best and worst of a relationship, tied together through themes of self-realization and individualism. It’s an on-the-nose portrayal of the full cycle of a relationship and the heartbreak that tends to result from it, capturing everything to an extent, from the warm and fuzzy feelings that kick off every relationship, all the way …

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 …

Just Friends – [Eli Major]

Chicago’s own Eli Major singer and songwriter drops his first single of 2019 with “Just Friends.” This new offering embodies the perfect mood for the Springtime. “Just Friends” is a smooth laid back ballad that combines contemporary r&b with melodic and soulful sounds. The narrative of the track explained by Eli via email is him “telling a story of rekindling feelings from a past relationship that has to begin to resurface over time.” “Just Friends falls into the alternative r&b category and Major has expressed his desire to continue experimenting with this style of music. This doesn’t come as a surprise as Eli Major stated to me some of his musical influences include Frank Ocean, Khalid, Coldplay, and Daniel Caesar. It should be interesting to see what path his musical journey takes as we travel deeper into the year. We should expect a project from Eli around this Fall so that gives us something to look forward to. Listen to Eli Major’s soothing track “Just Friends” after the break.

Delaware’s Free Spirit With the Wild Mane, Lil West, Talks Mining Relationships, Finding ‘Balance’ and More on the New Vex Part 1

It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of Americans, asked to name someone from Delaware off the top of their heads, could only come up with that of Joe Biden, the former vice president currently dragging out a will-he-or-won’t-he-run guessing game regarding the 2020 presidential race. But that doesn’t mean the nation’s “First State”—our second smallest in area—hasn’t produced other accomplished individuals, including, in the hip-hop world, one of the more quietly promising young talents to emerge in recent years: melodic genre-buster Lil West. The southern Delaware town of Bridgeville—population, 2000 and change—isn’t what you’d call a hip-hop mecca, but then 20-year-old West is hardly a conventional singer and rapper. The first thing I notice as West and I sit down in a booth at the midtown location of Manhattan favorite Blue Ribbon Sushi—is that his famously wild hair has been brought under control. If the artist has one signature visual trait that’s helped stand him out from the pack during his come-up, it’s a leonine mane that serves as a nice  visual signifier of his free spirit. The hair has been on full display in videos like last year’s “No More” and the recent “Somedays” – but this …

Five Life Lessons From J Dilla’s ‘Donuts’

By: John Matraia Loops surround us in our everyday lives. Rings. Coins. Wheels. Even donuts, a favorite snack of the late producer J Dilla. But loops mean much more than those run-of-the-mill items when looking at J Dilla’s magnum opus: the 31-track journey through life that is Donuts. For those unfamiliar with J Dilla (also known as Jay Dee), he was a music producer and rapper from Detroit, born in 1974. On Donuts, his most acclaimed solo body of work, he proves himself as the master of loops (short, repetitive sample patterns) found at the core of every song. In fact, the album as a whole acts as one never-ending loop, running seamlessly from the first song to the last and then back to the first. Dilla communicates through these loops on this instrumental project, speaking volumes without any vocals from the man himself. Dilla created Donuts entirely on an MPC3000, a device that the Detroit producer knew the ins and outs of more than almost anyone, without any technological help from the machine’s myriad of capabilities. More specifically, Dilla famously made the project without “quantization” — a feature of the MPC that moves certain drum notes in place with …