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A Conversation with Giveon: Success of His Debut EP ‘Take Time’, Early Begininngs, “Chicago Freestyle” and More

“It’s crazy because about fifteen months ago, I was a server at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. To come from that, to where I am now was just amazing to see. -Giveon The journey to becoming a musician can be something that can be very difficult to venture. There are many aspects to consider when you start with that initial thought or dream. What will your sound be? Who are you inspired by? What do you hope to leave the fans with? These questions and many more are some of the things that come to the minds of artists all around the world who may be sitting in their car on their lunch break-trying to find a way out of their hard times. One of the most important questions of all, is how will I be differentiated from my peers? Giveon, the rising star out of Long Beach, California has asked himself each and every one of these questions and then some. What we are witnessing right before our eyes, is the blossoming if the next music sensation that will begin to take over the industry, one harmony at a time.  Giveon’s initial burst into the musical realm came from a …

Hard Times Don’t Last: A Conversation with Rap’s Newest Star 42 Dugg

Two decades ago rap music was beginning to transform from a counter-culture that at times made national headlines and even more hit records to one of the primary genres in America’s musical lexicon, and in a pop-culture sense was beginning to be seen by at least the youth as what was en vogue at the time. However, not all of our country received it that way and many criticized the genre for being too materialistic and braggadocious to even be truly considered to be art, but it is interesting that as these twenty-some years have passed, income inequality in our country has dramatically risen and has made it more difficult than ever to be a member of America’s working poor and lower-class in general and scarcely in this nation’s history have there been periods where upward mobility looks more impossible than it has in the past decade for those at the bottom of the totem pole. In my opinion, this is precisely why rap music, a style that like I said was considered to be too flashy to have any substance whatsoever, has become the new musical status quo for people both young and old with an influence that’s spread …

Lovesick – [RICEWINE]

Thai-Australian musician Talae Rodden has achieved a sound that’s all genuinely his own under the name RICEWINE. The 20-year-old artist is able to marry influences of dreamy pop and lo-fi hip-hop into a lively musical style, and this style fully manifests on RICEWINE’s new album, ‘Lovesick’. Over 18 tracks, Rodden offers the most cohesive journey through his artistic exploration so far, stringing together a nostalgic narrative complete with memorable and lighthearted skits that function as waypoints throughout. He keeps the project exciting and a listener on their toes as he swiftly navigates between straightforward, fast-paced lyrical flows and airy, ethereal melodies. Rodden treats each track delicately when it comes to production, relying on lightweight, live instrumentation that accents his clean vocals.  Listen to RICEWINE’s album ‘Lovesick’ below, and hear from Rodden himself in our brief Q&A: — MDR: Who are some of your greatest musical influences/inspirations? TR: Jeff Buckley, Madlib, Joni Mitchell, Nujabes — MDR: Describe the ideal situation or setting you’d want people to listen to this project in. TR: probably having a drink with friends or a nice long walk though a park. — MDR: How long did it take to make this project? What was the process …

Like U Used 2 – [JXST J]

It’s easy to get lost in the monotony of being stuck inside and not seeing other people as often as we might be used to. But at times like these, sometimes a change of tempo is just what one might need to find a new rhythm. JXST J comes through with the musical refresh button that we could all use right now with his song and music video, “Like U Used 2”. It’s hard not to start dancing once you hit play on this track, as JXST J’s blend of electronic, pop, and lo-fi seamlessly sets a carefree vibe. This mix of genres feels like a breath of fresh air, and a much needed diversion from everyday life for a moment. He keeps things exciting and avoids sounding repetitive with interesting beat switch-ups and airy vocal harmonies that complement the song’s theme of letting go. The cohesiveness of this song combined with its video also capture the same relaxed mood—something we could all use right now.

Summer Reign – [Rick Ross] ft. [Summer Walker]

Rick Ross is clearly the king of Miami, and anyone who claims he’s not must be in denial. His multi-million-dollar mansion has literally been used in movies to demonstrate the wealth of the characters portrayed, but Ross lives that reality in his everyday life. He never raps about lies or tells false stories, so you know if he mentions thousand-dollar bottles of champagne and million-dollar timepieces, he owns them. I know this is a bit of a rant, but his latest visual for his song “Summer Reign” reminds you that he is the most powerful man in almost any room he’ll enter for the rest of his life. The song on its own reminds me of the classic Rick Ross style, considering Summer Walker’s heavenly singing adds the perfect opposition to Ross’s deep voice and smooth lyrics. His braggadocios bars aren’t too different than lyrics we’ve heard previously, as he talks about expensive luxuries that he doesn’t even have to think about buying. He also mentions how he wants to move his significant other to be with him and shower her in whatever jewelry, designer garments, and anything else she could even dream of. The video is full of bright …

What You Did Last Night – [Teddy Fontana]

Los Angeles based pop singer Teddy Fontana is back with a new single “What You Did Last Night.” This serves as the follow-up single to Teddy’s previous release a couple of months back with “Swerve.” This serves as the perfect song in terms of what a relationship is in 2019. Teddy stated via email that “What You Did Last Night” is about being in a young relationship while being in Los Angeles. She also touches on the grey areas between what’s ok and what’s not okay when your significant other is out and you aren’t around. This is something everyone can relate to because even then you may trust your boyfriend or girlfriend a lot of people can find their mind wandering about what’s going on while they’re absent. Although everyone loves great fictitious narratives in music, I always find it refreshing when people can express the everyday emotions of the average person in an interesting way. Stream Teddy Fontana’s new single “What You Did Last Night” after the break.

Kordo – [Kordoroy Floyd]

You can never discount the talent that continuously emerges from the Great White North. Making his second appearance on Lyrical Lemonade, the Vancouver based talents of Kordoroy Floyd is back to deliver a project that embodies his dedication to the craft and continued creative implementation. His new six-track EP, Kordo, does nothing if not convince new and established fans of Floyd’s steady rise and unrelenting pursuit. The culmination of the 13-minute EP from the Ghanaian-Canadian is a sprawling display of his ability to combine upbeat melodic sensibilities with in-your-face lyrical aggression. Songs like the project’s opener, “Free” and the iced-out confidence of “Freeze” along with the championship-mentality of “Rings” all play a part in establishing Floyd’s artful balance. Each record holds your attention, whether, through melodic backdrops or Floyd’s lyrical conviction over production supplied by frequent collaborators Zlender, Juzicy Beats and Kultargotbounce. Kordoroy Floyd leaves it all on the record and that within itself might be the most enduring part of his new EP. He said the below about his latest release, “This EP is simply the product of over 20,000 hours of hard work, dedication and liberation. I’ve been trapped in a horrible mental slump but my family, close friends and …

Eyes Closed. – [Bria]

Bria, a member of the Chicago-based music collective DIAL UP, has just released her debut solo mixtape titled ‘Eyes Closed’. While the RnB vocalist and songwriter made appearances on multiple tracks off the group’s compilation mixtape last year, ‘Eyes Closed’ offers the first look at Bria in full effect. Each track emerges in a dreamy, vintage-soul tone that’s informed by Bria’ influences while differentiating themselves through the range of emotions she explores throughout the project. She strikes gold when she’s able to merge her naturally airy vocal quality with classic RnB melodies, an intersection she finds herself at multiple points throughout ‘Eyes Closed’. “Ride” stands out as a track where she executes these soulful riffs and runs especially well, paying melodic homage to early-2000s RnB while adding her own voice to the mix. The project also reaches a level of sonic consistency that’s rare for a debut, benefitting from DIAL UP’s Dave Prime producing the entirety of the project. Bria premiered ‘Eyes Closed’ this past Saturday with a one-of-a-kind listening experience in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The event presented an all-hands-on-deck scenario for DIAL UP’s creative forces, and they executed Bria’s vision with ‘Eyes Closed’-themed decor, an intimate live performance …

Uncommon Nasa: The Backbone of The Underground

Uncommon Nasa is authenticity at its finest. He’s comfortable in his own skin, and he’s been operating on his own terms for years now. His unapologetic commitment to himself and his art for over a decade is what has solidified him as an impactful legend in the New York Indie scene. Nasa’s music is deeply rooted in New York culture, which is to be expected, considering he’s been there his whole life. It’s his default, in a sense. All of his music references home, sometimes more than others, but it’s always there. Despite some of the topical similarity that echoes throughout his music though, he refuses to stick to one sound. The classic, New York boom-bap influence is there, but Nasa understands the importance of pushing the ball forward, and makes his art with the intent that it won’t grow stale. His style is hard to pin-point, as his delivery can almost be classified as slam poetry at times, with extremely tight rhyme schemes and lyricism that demands the listener’s attention. Incredible amounts of time and detail go into Nasa’s art. He takes his time to make sure that every aspect of a record makes for a cohesive and engaging …

Kryptonite – [D2X] ft. [Quis]

Chicago’s D2X has been building up momentum this year with the release of multiple singles that have showcased the rapper’s growth both musically and intrinsically. Now, D2X is continuing his streak and evolution with his latest single, “Kryptonite”. In contrast to D2X’s previous release (the house-influenced banger “Go!”), the emcee returns to his more introspective side on “Kryptonite”. He centers his mind of the everyday struggles and stresses that ultimately keep him away from the things he really wants to be spending time on, and this song serves as his way of taking stock of his current situation in life and wrestling with how to move forward. Producer and featured rapper Quis soundtracks this moment of self-reflection with an instrumental that escalates, allowing D2X’s flow to evolve along with it. The prominent guitar strums throughout come at uneven intervals, and both rappers craft their flows around the beat in a way that makes their words hit with more impact. With “Kryptonite”, D2X and Quis take a more somber detour from their last song together while still making something that hits hard in its own way. Stream “Kryptonite” by D2X and Quis below: