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Stay Strapped, Vol. 2 – [STRAPPED!]

I was thrilled when STRAPPED! dropped their first official project last year as they have been an invaluable asset to the underground community for years both as a blog and SoundCloud hosting services, giving us our first listen to more links and snippets than I could count, as well as giving emerging artists a greater platform to expose their songs to. Their latest release, Stay Strapped, Vol. 2 follows their debut last year but have reloaded in terms of the artists they featured, even with a few repeat appearances. The twenty track project encapsulates almost every notable sound in underground rap today, ranging from the endless bars of Tony Shhnow, to the melodic plugg-stylings of BoofPaxkMooky, or the autotuned crooning of Pollari, with a number of flavors in between, truly giving a comprehensive sample of what is coming out of SoundCloud today. The tape features: Tony Shhnow, Draft Day, 10kdunkin, Stunna Cold, ATL Smook, Lil Xelly, BBKnight, Texako, BoofPaxkMooky, IceBirds, DC2Trill, FLEE, 1600j, MDMA, Destroy Lonely, Lil Candypaint, Thouxanbanfauni, Lil Yen, Bear1Boss, and Pollari. I am looking forwards to Volume 3 and cannot wait to see which new faces are selected for that project, as well as hearing how much the …

The Old Lil Kim – [BoofPaxkMooky]

North Carolina based artist BoofPaxkMooky has had a wildly impressive and prolific run over the past year and change and is helping usher in the modern plugg-music genre at the forefront of the scene, pairing up with CashCache and a host of other producers who are the main architects of this new sound, and even attempting to push boundaries on the production front as he did alongside GRiMM Doza on the duo’s recent mixtape I Get High For Days that was met with both critical and collective support from the underground community. He collided with the production trio of Hoshi, Marco, and Bvsu for his new track “The Old Lil Kim” where he croons over an exceptionally odd but still bubbly in a distorted and sedated manner.

FERRIS WHEEL – [Caal Vo]

At 18-tracks and 35 minutes of runtime, FERRIS WHEEL exhibits Caal Vo’s uncanny ability to traverse through nearly all of modern hip-hop’s styles while maintaining his distinct originality. He lays down infectious hook-centered tracks on the opener, “Ferris,” and the closer, “21 Questions.” He boosts off on high-velocity rage-beats on “Ball Hogs (No Pass Zone).” And he pours his heart onto somber instrumentals found on “Dirty Diana,” “Dancing With Demons,” and “Let It Sing.” Features include BoofPaxkMooky (“By The Morning”) and Polo Perks + Bobainee (“Let It Sing”). Whether Caal Vo is flexing his success or mourning over his regrets, it remains clear that he put every ounce of his being into each song. The production is what separates FERRIS WHEEL from Caal Vo’s previous projects and the rest of the current underground landscape. It is spearheaded by Surf Gang producers EvilGiane, Goner, Eera, and TommyToHotty — who were just profiled in Rolling Stone and Noisey. The collective’s unorthodox orchestral presence is painted all over FERRIS WHEEL. Most prominently on “Let It Sing,” featuring Polo Perks and Bobainee, which features one of Caal’s most intimate verses: “I’m playin’ this game and I can’t fold / My brothers locked nah I ain’t …

Stay Strapped, Vol. 1 – [STRAPPED!]

If you’ve been active on SoundCloud over the past few years, chances are at some point you have liked a song from the prolific supplier of underground music STRAPPED! which has faithfully been delivering music to the platform from the SoundCloud scene’s most popular artists to breaking lesser known talent often, giving them a platform full thousands of eager listeners. They recently unveiled their debut mixtape Stay Strapped, Vol. 1 which comprises a great deal of underground favorites as well as some relatively new names a chance to shine and effectively gives a great sampling of the scene, ranging from the glistening melodic atmosphere’s created by BIGBABYGUCCI, to the lyrically dense plugg stylings of Tony Shhnow who is most likely your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper right now, and even down the distorted ‘hyperpop’ side of things that has been surging both on SoundCloud and Tik-Tok for months and even introduces artists who are able to blend these aforementioned genre’s together in a collision of styles which has me very excited for the future of the genre. The project features a number of artists including BIGBABYGUCCI, Stunna Cold, Kcardie, Tony Shhnow, Texako, Destroy Lonely, 10kdunkin, K.Trill, BBKnight, BoofPaxkMooky, and Lil Xelly. …

Spend – [Serane] x [CashCache!]

French rapper Serane has had a particularly viral week on twitter, stemming simultaneously from both a video that went viral in America of one of his recent snippets where he was quickly labeled as the “French Goonew” in what was many people outside of the current underground scene in America’s initial exposure to him where he was met with a lot of love and some hostility, as many were upset at the appropriation of the DMV flow reaching as far as Europe while equally many were flattered that foreigners are showing such immense love to a criminally underrated style. And also, if we had to keep up with every rapper who bites off of Goonew we honestly wouldn’t have many left. Serane also had a polarizing week in the French music blog world, at least from what I could gather from the “translate tweet” button, but it is certainly clear that he is the unquestionable king of French SoundCloud which is a fascinating and quickly growing scene that is bringing plugg-music to Europe. Serane has been working extensively now with Atlanta producer CashCache who has been the sonic backbone in the plugg music renaissance that is building on last decade’s …

I Love Cashcache 2 – [CashCache!]

Atlanta’s Cashcache! has been one of the foremost breakout producers in the entire underground rap world that is clearly derived from the plugg-sounds of Mexikodro and StupidXool that first captivated SoundCloud in 2015-16 but never quite had the true mainstream moment most fans thought it deserved, despite numerous big songs that helped forge their almost god-like cult-followings in the producer community and greater rap world. Nonetheless a new crop of artists are popping up on SoundCloud almost daily looking to revive or build off of this classic internet sound and Cashcache has led the charge as far as working to further expand the sonic possibilities of the sub-genre, making at times stripped back and minimal plugg beats that are almost borderline jazz rap or futuristic and warped ideations that push plugg music further onto the razor sharp tip of hip-hop’s cutting edge. Cashcache’s new mixtape I Love CashCache 2 builds on the sonic achievements that he has found this year most notably with 10kDunkin, Tony Shhnow, and BoofPaxkMooky but also introduces and co-signs a host of new artists as well making noise in the current underground realm. “Deacon Tony” has been one of my favorite Cash and Tony Shhnow collaborations since I …

PRESSURE – [SERANE] [CASHCACHE]

Atlanta producer CashCache has quietly become the most influential and notable of the inumerable beatmakers in the plugg/post-SoundCloud space, creating a jazzy luster around one of the most recognizable sounds in 2010’s rap production. His collaborations with Tony Shhnow, BoofPaxkMooky, and 10kDunkin recently have started to let him receive some of the flowers from his trailblazing contributions but the craziest aspect of CashCache’s rise are his new collaborations with French rapper Serane who floats over Cash’s sanguine instrumentals in a sing-songy but vocally reserved flow, matching the lethargic energy of Cash’s percussion. The language barrier is an unfortunate block to fully appreciating Serane’s music but you can always catch familiar phrases in his songs like “trap jumping,” “smoking pressure,” or any other tropes of the like. Stanko recently brought his track “Pressure” to life for Serane which was the perfect introduction to the French artist if you are not yet familiar. I am really looking forward to hearing more of Serane’s music going forwards and hopefully he will be only the beginning of elevating the French rap scene and spreading the plugg style.

Garden – [BoofPaxkMooky]

Atlanta producer CashCache has long been a favorite of many in the underground for his glittery and sanguine instrumentals that are distinctly plugg influenced, citing Mexikodro as his main production inspiration, and has worked tirelessly to evolve his sound even further and make his jazz/plugg/pop hybrid even more distinguishable than it already was in the first place. When you hear ‘CashCache type beat’ now, one will immediately be able to place likely both the sound and mood of the track even before pressing play and that is perhaps the most awe inspiring part of his art as he has very intentionally created a sound that is unmistakably his. Recently he and BoofPaxkMooky, an artist who has been a main collaborator of Cash’s for some time now, connected for a new mixtape entitled Garden. Both Cash and Mooky shine and are very much in their bags and Mooky shows off his distinctive melodic but slightly off-beat and constantly inflecting flow that will be well-received by fans of artists like Duwap Kaine or ATL Smook. “Downy” is one of my favorite tracks off of the project and includes the first feature of the project coming from 1600j. “Be Yourself” will be a familiar beat …