Intimidated – [Kaytranada]

Although it might not be the typical type of music I tend to listen to, Kaytranada is one of my all-time favorite producers, and that’s not a difficult thing for me to say at all. He just always knows how to get the vibes right no matter where you’re at. Whether you’re in a club, at a party, cruising down the road in your car, or hanging out with a group of friends, his music is upbeat enough to want to party, but also low-key enough to just bob your head to as you immerse yourself into the music. Not a day goes by where I don’t listen to a song produced by him, whether it’s an original track put out by him or another song that was released by another artist, he always knows how to bring out the best in the singers and rappers he works with, and his latest EP Intimidated is no different. With just 3 songs that clock in just short of 10 minutes long, this project is a nice little gift that will have your speakers bumping before your very eyes. The first track is the title song called “Intimidated” and features H.E.R., a …

Find a Way – [H.E.R.] ft. [Lil Durk] [Lil Baby]

“Got this shit up out the mud, still grinding like I’m tryna get my weight up.” H.E.R. preaches messages of the importance of staying the path, and remaining committed to the paper, in her newest single, “Find a Way,” featuring Lil Durk and Lil Baby. She combines her flawless, delicate, yet powerful voice with lyrics of grit and determination to create a catchy, light hook that Durk and Baby both follow in precision. The three create a trio that is compiled of some of the most influential and successful artists of the previous few years, and it’s clear they’ve found a infallible formula in “Find a Way.” With the main theme of the song relating to staying true, Baby and Durk add verses of memory from before the fame, and what it’s taken to get to the point they’re all at now – and all of the trials and tribulations that they’ve encountered along the way. It’s clear that money is the primary motivation, and getting to the bag comes with cost and consequences, with lost relationships and unpleased enemies. “I got in my bag, when I looked up ain’t see nun’ but bunch of haters, no matter how much …

Our 50 Favorite Joey Bada$$ Songs

Every once in a blue moon, an artist will come by in hip-hop that bridges the ever-dividing gap between the new and the old – someone who embodies the best of both, and someone that everyone can agree on. Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era crew were just that when they first came out. Employing a 90s-influenced style and a classic aesthetic that inspired a generation of artists in New York and beyond, Pro Era had the technical skill and “pure hip-hop” lyricism that one would expect from a 90s act, while they also possessed a sense for style, sound, and group comradery that resonated with current-day listeners. It was an incredible marriage of innovation and influence that came from a crew of artists talented and wise beyond their years, spearheaded by none other than Joey Bada$$: an artist now with several undeniable classics to his name, all the way from pure-as-it-gets hip-hop tracks to high-flying, radio-ready anthems. Frankly, Joey Bada$$ has done it all, and his still-growing contributions to hip-hop – aesthetically, lyrically, sonically, and otherwise – are not to be underestimated. Not often do we get a talent of Joey’s caliber that fans of any age can get behind, …

Top 50 Chicago Projects of 2019

Turning the page into the next decade, our fourth edition of the “Top 50 Chicago Projects of the Year” list marks a special occasion. From the first list until now, four years means more than just four years of picks. It tracks four years of growth from some of our favorite artists, and a chance to watch last year’s entries rise up the ranks and improve, one year after the next. This year, we’re welcoming several Chicago mainstays as well as a plethora of new faces. The constant between every pick? A strong representation of the talent in Chicago, solidifying the city as a front runner in the trend-setting landscape of hip-hop. If there’s any city presenting some of music’s premier faces, both old and new, it’s Chicago, just as we aim to capture on this list. That said, below is Lyrical Lemonade’s top 50 Chicago projects of 2019. Thank you to all of the artists working so hard to provide us with music, and here’s to a promising decade to come for Chicago music. From 2019 ’til infinity. Honorable Mentions: Chanelle Truvillion, Kiraly Payne — 50) Josi Green & Ausar – The Good & The Bad EP Josi Green …

Pulp – [Ambré]

Some music just hits you in a way that’s entirely unexpected. Whether or not you can pin point the exact musical element that causes something to awake inside of you, music that can simply make you feel is the music that is worth holding onto. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been introduced to some unexpected gems, but none more so than a rising artist who goes by the name of Ambré. If you haven’t heard of her name, there’s still a strong chance that you’ve heard some of the music that she’s been involved in. The New Orleans native is actually responsible for writing two tracks on H.E.R.’s Grammy award winning album; a feat that not many artists can say that they’ve accomplished. With all of this talent, it was only a matter of time until the 23 year old singer/songwriter emerged into the spotlight. Earlier this month, Ambré was announced as Roc Nations latest signing. Shortly after the deal was inked, her debut EP, “Pulp” was made available on various streaming platforms worldwide. The whole project is truly a triumph. After listening to the full 8 songs a couple of times through, it’s extremely evident to hear …

Let Love – [Common]

I apologize because I am admittedly a few weeks late to this, but not too long ago the Chicago legend Common released his new album Let Love, and it’s some of his best work to date. I have been a huge fan of Common since I was a kid, his music has been something like a soundtrack to certain times in my life, so I was eager to hear what this new project sounded like. Well, over the past couple of weeks I have had this album on repeat, it’s one of my favorite albums of 2019. He rhymed over some amazing, soulful instrumentals on this eleven-track tape, he gave us a part two of his hit record ‘I used to love H.E.R.’ and other touching songs like the ode to his mother on ‘Forever Your Love’. Common has released some classic albums over the years, and I believe that this new project will too stand the test of time, bravo to Common for putting his best foot forward. If you haven’t already checked out this album, give it a spin via Spotify below!

The Lay Down – [Big Baby DRAM] ft. [H.E.R.] & [watt]

With the announcement that he is dropping new music, DRAM also released a message explaining that, 2 years removed since his last album, he would be getting back to his R&B and soul roots. Starting off, he’s definitely aligning himself with the right people, recruiting new R&B sensation H.E.R, and guitarist Andrew Watt for “The Lay Down.”  Though the overall direction and cushioned R&B-driven board work may be new ground, DRAM’s charisma, and unique vocal drawl remain true and he does a great job of blending it with H.E.R’s smoky voice. Still present, as well, is DRAM’s knack for arrangement. Here he rounds out the cut emphatically with a strutting solo from watt that’s backed by some impressive vocal harmonies and powerful drums that work together to create rich, cascading feel. Taking the qualities that are rooted in his DNA that made him a fan-favorite, but applying them to a new sound and direction, DRAM kicks off this new, Big Baby DRAM chapter with a bang.

Not Another Love Song – [LoveAylin]

Chicago artists have all the soul and heart that is required to get you in your feels, especially when it comes to R&B. Chicago singer LoveAylin recently released a gorgeous R&B ballad ironically titled, “Not Another Love Song.” She sings about a lover who has scorned her in the past, but continues to use the iffiness of the relationship as a muse to keep the flame lit. She passionately belts, “Just lay me down, love me slow / just show me you want me more,” in the slow 6/8 meter that makes the song sound like a grooving waltz. The reverb on the vocal sample gives the production an aesthetic similar to a NWTS-era Drake beat, but the song as a whole definitely puts her in a similar hemisphere as H.E.R. and Kehlani. LoveAylin has all the potential in the world. She is definitely an artist to keep an eye on. Stream the song here and keep an eye out for more: Words by Barry R

Racks – [H.E.R.] ft. [YBN Cordae]

H.E.R. solidified herself as one of the forerunners in RnB’s new wave with her grammy award-winning self-titled album, and now the singer has shared a new song just in time for summer. “Racks” is a sultry single that feels right in H.E.R.’s pocket, and it also features rising star and longtime favorite on our page, YBN Cordae. Together, the two reflect on seeking love while also chasing after a bag, wrestling with the fact that what they really want can’t be bought. They build off each other’s songwriting with H.E.R. bringing her signature smooth vocals to the table and Cordae lending a quick but effective verse. Listen to H.E.R. and YBN Cordae team up for “Racks” below:

Hip-Hop And The Grammys: It’s Complicated

On the Recording Academy’s Up-and-Down Relationship with Rap     The scent of weed wafting its way down the hall to my room from Andre3000’s neighboring after party cements the night in my mind like it was yesterday. Andre had reason to celebrate: it was 2004, and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below had just won what is generally considered to be the top prize on “Music’s Biggest Night”—the Grammy Award for album of the year. I remember the night, and that smell of success, like it was yesterday. But it was hardly yesterday, was it? It’s the most oft-mentioned, ongoing streak of embarrassment for the Grammys, but it must be repeated annually until it’s broken: it has been fifteen years since that Outkast win, and no rap project since has reached the Grammy summit. Plenty of worthy LP’s have been nominated, but all have come up short, including exceptional  releases by Lil Wayne, Drake, Jay-Z and—three times each, Eminem, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. That’s fifteen years, mind you, in which hip-hop has only solidified its place as contemporary culture’s preeminent sound and style. What can you say? Fool me once…but fool me fifteen times? The 61st Grammy Awards will take …