Oh Well – [Loneli]

A hot topic of conversation in the music world as of late has been the “death of SoundCloud.” In regards to where many listeners are finding new music, sure, this holds merit. However, I don’t know that I would say SoundCloud will ever really “die,” per se, mainly due to its culture-shifting barriers to entry. Nowadays, even while less artists post official new releases on their accounts, more and more talents are beginning to post demos, unreleased cuts, and more — none of which have aggregated over to Spotify, Apple Music, etc. Quite clearly, the role of SoundCloud may have changed, but its DIY spirit certainly hasn’t left, just as I continue to find in the form of random gems, the most recent of which goes by “Oh Well” from an artist named Loneli. 2 minutes long, stripped to some vocals and a guitar, “Oh Well” has the sense of homegrown authenticity that so clearly epitomized the SoundCloud platform in the first place. Straight from the heart, the song bleeds emotion in each and every note, even while lacking the polished professionalism that you may hear from a top 10 radio single. However, I’d argue that “Oh Well” does more …

Did Ya Do It – [Grandma]

Grandma is one of my favorite upcoming artists right now. Having delved into a wide variety of genres throughout his catalog thus far, the Atlanta native never seems to get bored of pushing the bounds, and quite clearly, neither do his fans. Even at such an early stage in his career, Grandma has listeners deeply invested in his artistic progression — a rare notion for a young artist and yet, a key ingredient toward longevity in an ever-changing world of music. Today, stretching the borders of sound just that much more, Grandma is here with yet another new single, “Did Ya Do It.” Unfit to be placed in any one box, the new song is a reminder that Grandma is ready to be anything but static. His artistic identity is a malleable one, and his talents are equally as free-flowing, but the one thing that won’t change is the high bar for quality across all of the rising act’s releases. Even when throwing an 808 into a song probably closer to alternative than hip-hop, Grandma remains conscious of staying genuine in the face of experimentation, always taking bold steps with intention. The result of this calculated ambition is a naturally-compelling …

DHL – [Frank Ocean]

I’m going to be honest, I didn’t think I’d be writing about new Frank Ocean music any time soon. But here we are. And we’re in for quite the treat. Frank’s new track “DHL” is a woozy, atmospheric look into the world of Frank Ocean in 2019. It’s been over a year since fans have heard from him musically, and now we have a better idea of where he’s at artistically. In the context of his discography, “DHL” sounds closest to something that could have landed on Endless, but for the most part, is unlike anything Frank has made up until this point. Reverb and other effects grace Frank’s voice as he raps and riffs vocally for much of the track. The first part of the song creates an otherworldly atmosphere, featuring slicing synth leads that are toned down in the second half, making room for a more pronounced bass line in the instrumental. The last twenty seconds ditch the vocal effects and find Frank dropping some braggadocious bars to end the song on a high note. The big takeaway from this track is the fact that Frank can reinvent himself with ease. Of course he reinvented himself with Blonde and …

How to Be a Player – [ATM Richbaby] ft. [Action Pack AP]

Memphis rapper ATM Richbaby has been surging through the Memphis rap ranks and his newest Action Pack AP featuring visual comes right on the heels of his viral hit “FREAKY LIL BIH” he dropped alongside his Blackhaven counterpart Duke Deuce that put him onto the radars of many new fans. Action Pack AP has been ascending in his own right, quickly amassing a sizable audience in Memphis and the two recently came together perfectly on their newest visual entitled “How to Be a Player.” ATM Richbaby is effortlessly hilarious and is a guaranteed interesting listen and in addition to this important quality, he also has a rather unique delivery pattern and comes to every situation with an unexpected yet hard flow. Memphis native and recent Dreamchasers signee Hitkidd produced this bouncy instrumental. Action Pack complemented Richbaby well with his unmistakable swagger and respective rapping ability and he is without a doubt going to be one of the next Memphis rappers to explode. I hope these two continue to team up on future tracks and each of them poised to be leading Memphis forward in 2020. Watch “How to Be a Player” here:

97 Benzo – [Jacq Malíq]

Fresno artist Jacq Malíq has been one of my favorite artists who remains unknown by the general public, and I am sure that as more people become aware of his music he will quickly make his way onto the playlists of many. Maliq blends a variety of styles into his breezy rap/indie/rock hybrid style that coexists better than most artists would be capable of. “97 Benzo” is the perfect example of this sonic quality as he gives some rapping passages, but the track also features an electric guitar refrain played by Maliq that shows exactly how multi-talented he is instrumentally. For now, Jacq Maliq will likely remain criminally underrated but there is no doubt in my mind that as more people become aware of him he will explode. He is just far too gifted not to. Watch the “97 Benzo” visual here:

ReRoute – [BigMouf’bo]

From the SouthSide of Chicago, BigMouf’bo is native to the Chicago drill scene with lyrical prowess enough to impress Chance the Rapper on the new Netflix series ‘Rhythm and Flow.’ The show features Chance the Rapper, Cardi B, and T.I. acting as judges to determine the next hip hop sensation. Chance’s visit leaves him impressed with BigMouf’bo’s performance delving into Chicago crime through thick rap without beats. While the verdict of the show is yet to be determined, she released ‘ReRoute’ to Spotify this past week complete with her standard clever lyrics backed by repetitive, fun beats. It is a track that would be expected of an upcoming young artist, however, her track ‘Fate’ on SoundCloud shows her potential through a thought-provoking honest depth. She is a standout talent and a rising female star in the Chicago hip hop community. I would expect more greatness out of her in the very near future as she continues to develop as an artist. Words by Sabrina Hand

#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:

Best Life – [Thoreau]

Back in May, I wrote about an artist who goes by the name of Thoreau. The producer/singer/songwriter made his way on to our pages for the release of his song “Keeping Score”. Today, the rising artist is making another appearance for the drop of his new single entitled “Best Life”. By the looks of the title, it’s easy to tell that this vibe isn’t going to be one that’ll make you do some deep reflecting and pondering; but instead Thoreau invites his listeners to live their “Best Life” and not let silly things get you down. The upbeat nature of this song is definitely refreshing. It allows Thoreau to show off his superb flow in a way that’ll make you want to get up and dance. This positive ballad is one that I think a lot of people need to hear. I’ve attached the brand new single down below! Give it a listen and let us know what you think!

Häagen Dazs – [Ghetto Sage]

Last week, Noname, Saba, and Smino began teasing a collective release under the moniker Ghetto Sage. The prospect of this midwestern rap supergroup was enough to get any hip-hop fan excited, as the three’s past track record together has been nothing short of excellent. Today, the trio made their formal introduction as Ghetto Sage with a new single titled “Häagen Dazs”. The three versatile artists waste no time in getting to what listeners have been craving since last hearing from them, opting for a hard, straightforward comeback single that showcases the unique talent of each individual member. Smino kicks things off, holding down the hook and first verse with his signature buoyant flow, mischievously maneuvering with the beat as if his presence is weightless. Saba’s follow-up verse is short, sweet, and poignant, demonstrating that his precision for crafting never-before-heard rhyme schemes only continues to get sharper with time. Noname, who’s remained the most relatively low-key of the three artists since dropping ‘Room 25’ last year, enters the arena as a master of metaphors, able to contrast flowery eloquence with blunt truths, all while keeping her penchant for clever wordplay in pocket. Producer Vzn ties everything together, arming Ghetto Sage with …

Crash – [Lil Gray]

After breaking out alongside Goonew on their unforgettable “Positive Goon” record, Lil Gray has relentlessly clawed his way to the apex of the quickly rising DMV rap scene and he is releasing a steady number of new visuals that only tighten his already firm grip on the region. Gray has a reckless and raw vocal style that is both unbridled and melodic and this makes listening to him simultaneously entertaining and breathtaking as he manages to pack a tremendous amount of emotion into his bars. His newest track “Crash” is situated over a triumphant instrumental that is powered by a lavish trumpet melody with thumping percussion to match and he uses his unique delivery patterns to eviscerate this beat. He possesses the rare combination of talent and likability that are the necessary ingredients to make a rapper go far, and for now it appears that the sky is the limit for Lil Gray. Watch the “Crash” visual here: