SEARCH FOR: SLICK

Hustle Don’t Give [Che Noir] ft. [Black Thought]

Mello Music Group consistently delivers sheer quality. The independent record label’s latest offering “Hustle Don’t Give” is a collaborative single by Che’ Noir and Black Thought with their artist Apollo Brown covering the production. The track will be off Noir and Brown’s joint album titled As God Intended, set to release July 10th. Just like Griselda, Che Noir hails from the very active hip-hop city of Buffalo, New York. Che’ Noir’s rap style frequently consists of rapid-fire rhymes and subject-matter that eerily resembles the sounds of her birth year in 1994. Meshing classic golden era hip-hop with relevance, Che’ refreshingly shatters the ignorant claims that ‘hip-hop is dead.’ As for Apollo Brown, it is without question that the Detroit producer is carving a monumental impact on boom-bap instrumentation, having produced for Skyzoo, Rass Kass, Guilty Simpson, Big Pooh, Danny Brown, Freddie Gibbs, Masta Ace, Oddisee, Black MIlk, Joell Ortiz, and more. From the crisp kick drums, to the horns and organs, an Apollo Brown instrumental quickly become signature in familiarity. Brown’s credo for his work is to try and make each album his favorite of all time. I love everything Apollo touches, but his collaborative album Mona Lisa with Slaughterhouse member …

That’s Just Hak – [Hakuna Bruv]

Born in Middletown, Ohio, but currently residing in NYC, Hakuna Bruv is an emerging artist whose sound seemingly cannot be defined. Both a highly capable emcee and vocalist, new listeners will be divided on whether or not Hakuna’s style aligns more with a slick city street, or a chill reserved branch. When singing, Hakuna is as polished as Masego, Kid Cudi, Theophilus London, Donald Glover, etc.., whereas his soft, glossy rapping mirrors the energy of artists such as Saba, Smino, and Anderson Paak. The Ohio native is apart of FILO, a creative talent agency startup consisting of specialists and artists in many differentiated, yet interrelated mediums. Listed influences of Hakuna’s are Jay-Z, Kanye West, Isaiah Rashad, and Kendrick Lamar; all fitting picks that mold into the music of Hakuna Bruv some way or another. If forced to describe Hakuna’s unique approach, his body of work sounds like a first bite of fresh fruit; smooth, but not what you’d expect. Hakuna’s latest offering “That’s Just Hak” holds no exception to this rule, beautifully blending the versatile artist’s contrasting personas and artistic characteristics into one. Produced by pk, the blissful acoustic guitar and drum-heavy instrumental is accompanied by Hakuna’s masterful vocals for an overall …

Dangerookipawaa Freestyle – [Ab-Soul]

Although Top Dawg Entertainment’s line-up is absolutely stacked, Ab-Soul consistently stands out as one of, if not the very best, lyricists on the roster. TDE has managed to accumulate a variety of extremely talented artists ranging from gangster rappers to intricate lyricists to R&B legends, and they are typically able to share the wealth among many of their talents. Although Soul has been very quiet when it comes to releasing his own solo music for quite some time now, I’m sure he’s been playing a part in helping other artists prepare and elevate their own offerings considering his veteran status within the label. I’m so excited to say that his nearly 4-year silence has come to an end today with his latest song entitled “Dangerookipawaa Freestyle”. The beat sounds like a sample comprised of pulsating synths, an erratic saxophone, and some classic percussion. Soul’s voice is just smooth and slick on this jazzy-sounding instrumental. You can tell simply by his energy just how invested he is in this one track, penning an absolutely incredible song full of wordplay and masterful deliveries. Although it might have been 4 years since his last individual effort, he hasn’t slowed down in the slightest …

Midnight Butter – [Juicebox] x [Hazy Year]

It’s always a great feeling when you stumble upon a gem while searching for new music to listen to. That’s exactly what happened when I peeped Juicebox and Hazy Year’s collaborative Midnight Butter album, which is arguably my favorite project of 2020 so far! Self-proclaimed “Ellen DeGenreless,” Juicebox is a born and raised New York native currently residing in Los Angeles. Beyond being an extremely dope emcee, Juicebox also has a passion for photography, film, and skateboarding. Juicebox’s style is super mellow, frequently meshing well with silky boom-bap, smooth jazz, and chilled lo-fi beats. I immediately likened Juice’s sound to the legendary rap duo A Tribe Called Quest’s; specifically Q-Tip’s as both emcees float over the instrumentals they touch. Don’t be fooled by Juicebox’s nonchalant approach; like Q-Tip, Juice is a highly skilled lyricist capable of igniting the tempo with aggression at any point in time. For example, on the flute-filled record “Soprano,” Juicebox cleverly remarks: “It’s simple, the only thing you’re pimpin’ is a pimple, while a thug would put a hole in your face not talkin’ dimple.” As for the producer, Hazy Year is an established producer out of Norway, incorporating primarily a mixture of lo-fi hip-hop with occasionally …

Hungry AF – [Kelo Of Dopeness]

One of the strongest tools at a rapper’s disposal that can set them apart from the pack is the tone of their voice. It’s an underrated quality that often goes unnoticed, but I’m sure if most of us think of our own favorite rappers, each of them would have a distinct and memorable vocal quality. Enter Kelo Of Dopeness, a promising emcee from the west coast who’s self-assured, gravelly presence on his new track “Hungry AF” makes exactly the type of first impression that leaves a lasting impact long after the minute-and-a-half runtime is over. The way Kelo’s voice cuts through the trap production supplied by 4eyes gets emphasized even more by his lyrical abilities as well. His slick-tongued and dextrous bars carry with them the confident execution of a seasoned veteran, making it all the more enticing for a listener to buy-in to his boastful lyrics. The accompanying music video is just the right amount of visually captivating for this shorter track, showcasing Melo sticking his head out of a sunroof as he drives and spins around carelessly through the streets at night.

Bored In The House – [Curtis Roach] x [Tyga]

Last week, a friend of mine was scrolling through a series of Tik-Tok’s all with the same ridiculously catchy song about being bored at home (as we all probably have been sometime in the past few weeks). To my surprise, the artist behind this viral song is one I’ve been familiar with for a couple of years already and have covered on Lyrical Lemonade multiple times in the past. I recognized the lighthearted, slick delivery of Detroit artist Curtis Roach’s comical bars almost instantly and was even more intrigued by the viral trend he had just started. “Bored In The House” is the infectious quarantine anthem we’ve all been waiting for. It’s extremely simple, and Roach knows how to not take himself too seriously while still spitting some impressive bars about being stuck at home all day. The song’s hook is dumb simple, walking a fine line between obnoxious and genius but coming out on the latter side thanks to Roach’s charisma behind the mic. As if the song weren’t viral enough, it also gets a major feature appearance from none other than Tyga who also spits an outstanding barrage of social distance-inspired heat. Watch the homemade video for “Bored …

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 …

La La Lost You – [NIKI]

NIKI may not have released a full album this year, but with the breadth of the Indonesian songwriter’s output this year it definitely seems like she did. Her moody ‘Wanna Take This Downtown’ EP combined with the range of poppy perfection she contributed on 88Rising’s ‘Head In The Clouds II’ project have culminated in no shortage of high points from the promising young artist this year. Now, she’s capping the year off and ringing in the holidays with a music video for her song “La La Lost You”. One of her standout solo songs off 88Rising’s compilation album, “La La Lost You” showcases NIKI’s craftiness with the pen as she slickly sings about a relationship torn apart by distance both physical and emotional. There’s no shortage of inspiration on this track for a thematic, conceptual video, and director Frank Borin follows through with a well-executed visual treatment that captures the heartbroken sentiments of the record. This video comes at the end of what seemed like a year of building momentum for NIKI, both musically and personally. As she alluded to in a letter to her fans via Instagram earlier this month, it seems she already has plans for what’s in …

High 4 Da Highladays – [Smino]

Hip-hop’s infatuation with Christmas music has led to some memorable, festive bangers in the past, and Smino wants to add his name to your holiday playlist with the release of his new double-single, ‘High 4 Da Highladays’. The St. Louis native gets in the holiday spirit in true Smino fashion on these two new tracks, and gets an assist from his righthand producer Monte Booker and the soulful intonations of Masego. Holiday songs always bring out the more lighthearted side in an artist, and as someone who already is known for not taking himself too seriously in his music, he sounds like he’s just having a good time on these two tracks. It’s difficult to not join along with him either as he slickly flows in his signature melodic trance, slipping in merry references to this time of year in his verses.

Midnight Dream – [Myquale]

On the heels of his ‘XX Winters’ EP, Chicago-based rapper Myquale keeps his momentum building with a new single titled “Midnight Dream”. Recorded during his time in Paris, the track draws upon a nostalgic, moody beat produced by Myquale himself, with additional production by Ëkoli and Aaron Deux. Myquale seems to draw upon memories of falling in love and combines this inspiration with his slick lyrical abilities. The release of Myquale’s ‘Flight Theory’ project in 2018 served as a true introduction to the lyricist’s artistic depth, showcasing both his dynamic flows and ear for melody and foreshadowing his ascent. Each subsequent release has only built off that initial height, and “Midnight Dream” continues to do so with Myquale continuing to set himself apart in terms of overall sound and lyrical content. As he takes a moment to reminisce on this record, his stream-of-consciousness style of rapping carries the song, offering interesting detours and flow switches throughout to keep a listener on their toes. Myquale continues to flesh out his vision as an artist on this track, and it only paves the way for what’s to come in the new decade from this promising talent. Listen below: