BUCK50ENT presents “Rollin,” a new single featuring OG Kaylyles, C Dollas & Get Right Sour. I have to say that the cover image is pretty pimp tight and looks like something out of a Grand Theft Auto game, even though the song itself is low key and chill. For a 3 minute jam, Rollin packs a lot in and makes the most of the track. The rappers manage to successfully create some harmony together and play well off of each other. Rap tends to be a very individual driven and sometimes ego driven medium, but these guy do a great job of making it about the song and the crew rather than themselves. There is some impressive lyrical flow, but it functions as part of an actual melodic song. This is a nice, laid back jam for cruisin…for people that aren’t about the drama.
Rhett Retko’s “And I Told Her So” (From the EP Thnx For The Ride) fuses classic rock’n’roll with contemporary style. This is impressively achieved without coming off as a throwback or “retro” novelty band. The musiciansmanship here is excellent, and the band works well together as a cohesive unit. It’s almost like they held a casting call / audition like The Monkees and got the best people they could find for each available spot in the group. Both performatively and aesthetically, they all seem to be on the same page, too. The music comes of as a cross between 60′s garage rock and 90′s alternative, with some contemporary influence as well. “And I Told Her So” features charismatic performances and quite nice technical guitar work. The vocals are on key and fairly dynamic, right where they should be (and I’m even basing that on the live version.) The energy and enthusiasm of Rhett Retko are contagious.
Kentucky based hip hop artist “YOUNG C” has released a video for his new track, “STAYD DOWN.” It appears to be set primarily in Lexington (Kroger Field is one of the locations.) The song is about someone recently released from prison after having served some time. People can have a change of heart in prison, sell out their friends, or transform themselves into something crazy. However, YOUNG C reassures his homies that he’s still the same guy and has stayed true to himself and the crew. STAYD DOWN seems to me to be about doing what you have to do to survive but also maintaining your integrity.
Musically, STAYD DOWN is surprisingly well constructed. A lot of indie rappers just throw some shit together and call it a song, but this track has structure and YOUNG C seems to have a natural talent for lyrical narrative and timing. His experiences give the song a personal touch. This jam is a good example of what can be achieved with a little bit of effort and passion. The repetitive chorus is also pretty damn catchy.
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“All Falls Down” is a new track by John J off his new album, “Still Howling Too.” It’s a high energy, action packed, little jam. The video reminds me vaguely of a tricked out version the opening title sequences to James Bond films. The song itself is a top tier production. For someone not particularly well known, John J shows surprising skill as a rapper and manages to put together a solid collection of songs. His assertive but measured tone gives the music a “life of the party” vibe (particularly in “All Falls Down.”) John J’s vocal delivery is noteworthy for its power and clarity. The beats and backing tracks add an ambiance of excitement and high drama.
Some of the other songs on “Still Howling Too” like “It’s the F*ck it In Me” and “5 Star 2.0″ have a bit harder edge to them, almost like the kind of mid 90′s rap you’d hear people bumpin while driving around in the golden days. “Faded,” the last song on the album, is probably my favorite. It serves as a mellow, laid back finale (and appropriately features actual howling noises in the intro.) It just seems so much more melodic and sparkly than some of the other songs. “Still Howling Too” is a worthy album and solid, authentic effort by John J.
“ELUSIVE” is a new track from experimental, Paris based singer/songwriter, TENNIN. It is minimalist in nature, with just a slight percussive backing and could probably work even if it were just spoken word. TENNIN has an excellent voice and makes creative use of pacing and and cadence to lend the song an avant garde feel. The tone of the song is delightfully hypnotic even with the somber atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed it. ELUSIVE will appear on TENNIN’s EP titled HOMNI, which it set to be released in early 2018.
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New single available from rapper, “iLLy,” titled On 4 Sum. It’s a pretty straightforward hip hop song, which utilizes some moderate vocal effects processing and overall is pretty smooth. iLLY has a pretty good flow and transforms his voice into a prominent instrument. The backing music is melodic and easy on the ears. It kind of has the feel of a late night, laid back radio jam. The backing vocals add an extra dimension to the song giving it a fullness and complexity to push it to the next level. This guy’s music will likely continue to get better as he begins to experiment more with the sound.
Hip hop artist “Shifty Eyes,” from Alberta, Canada, certainly has an eye for theatrics, as is demonstrated in the recent video for his song, “Beast.” He is a highly entertaining and lively performer, and the aesthetic of his video vaguely reminds me of 90′s horror movies like Wishmaster. Production quality (on both the video and the song itself) is top notch. I’m not gonna lie, this video is pretty awesome and much more creative than one would expect from contemporary hip hop videos. Rather than cast aside hip hop cliches entirely (sexy women, over the top assertiveness, fake teeth etc,) he manages to incorporate them into his style, in a wildly unique fashion and demonic supernatural setting.
Something must be said about his actual rapping, which is solid and delivered confidently. He is the product of a genuinely troubled background, which allows him to practice his craft with a degree of authenticity that’s not commonly found among so many LARPing artists that are just looking to make a name for themselves. We’re starting to see more and more inventive hip hop artists from Canada, and Shifty Eyes is one of the better ones up and coming.
Black Bluebirds describe themselves as “an electrifying power trio from Minneapolis, Minnesota.” One of their newest tracks is titled “Love Kills Slowly” and is featured on their new album “Like Blood For Music.” The style and sound is low-key reminiscent of Bowie or Freddie Mercury, but darker, more avante garde and overall a little less flamboyant. The song features some really impressive singing, with the vocalist really going all out in ways that would have given Iron Maiden a run for their money. The whole thing is a nice eclectic mix of synthpop, indie rock and (glam?) metal, performed by some real professional musicians that know what they doing.
Vocalist Cody Daniel is a somewhat unique artist in that his music combines elements from unlikely genres, such as alternative, R&B, pop soul. Others do this, but Daniel seems much more conscious of his eclectic influences. It’s not surprising. Younger musicians today have been exposed to many musical styles in their lives through, whereas artists in the past were often limited by whatever was popular in their geographic area or what was on the radio. Cody has released a video for his song “The Night.” Shot on location in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, the video is clean and professional, on the level of what you’d see on Mtv these days. A clearly talented singer, Cody Daniel’s voice propels the song as the listener sits back and watches the action unfold. It can be difficult to tell at times what is going on at times, but a night of romance and relationship drama it surely is. This music is very marketable and Cody has the potential to go very far with the right people backing him.
Just a heads up, popular artist “Kaseeno” has released a teaser video for his catchy single “Antonio Banderas” (the song is also featured on his latest album, Trap Party Vol 1.) True to it’s name, it’s a fun party jam. Kaseeno delivers the Spanish lyrics well, managing to keep things tight even with the song’s complex pacing. Kaseeno’s laid back and easy going style combine with his energetic vibe to make the track a real pick me up. If the official video lives up to the quality of the song ( and all indications are it will as the teaser features Kaseeno getting out of a live helicopter) then it has a chance to be epic.