A while back I reviewed the lead single for SEDA’s then upcoming EP, Wonderchild. Well, the anticipation is over, and now the full EP has been released. The songs often feature medium paced hypnotic and ambient background music, occasionally spiced up with samples and string synths. The sound has a minimalist vibe, basically singing over light instrumentals, though the tone and nature of the instruments displays some variation over the course of the release. Aside from the opening single, my favorite track on this album is probably Crush, a number which can best be described as what would happen if someone were to combine vaporwave with R&B / pop vocals. Another stand out song is Brave, which pleasantly surprises with bright and poppy guitars. It has a great hook and is the kind of warm and fuzzy track you’d hear during a romantic jewelry commercial.
Wonderchild shows versatility both musically and emotionally. The songs take a humble approach to the subject of love, touching on themes ranging from from initial infatuation and curiosity to regret, perseverance and admiration. SEDA’s dynamic vocals get the job done well enough, but just as importantly the listener comes away with the impression that when SEDA sings these lyrics, he actually means every word of them.
I’ve been doing these reviews for a long time, and it’s pretty rare that I come across something new or that I haven’t seen before. Syzl Lytnin’s H8taBlockaz is one of the rare exceptions. In addition to being a musical artist Syzl Lytnin actually has her own line of sunglasses. Not only does she use her music to promote her sunglasses, she actually combines these two things conceptually and artistically. Her sunglasses (called “H8taBlockaz”) are designed to shield one from the sun and also from negativity. Her musical single with the same name also shares these elements. H8taBlockaz features quirky synths and some lightning fast paced rapping coated with positive energy. The song is upbeat and lyrically confronts themes of keeping one’s head up and deflecting the negativity others throw at you. It’s an impressive release on its own but earns bonus points for being enveloped within such a unique creative context.
Wonderchild is set to be released this month. It’s a new 7 song EP from “SEDA,” an R&B/Pop & Latin artist from The Bronx, NY. The lead single for this upcoming EP has already dropped. It’s called Deserve and is available on Spotify. If there’s one thing that’s evident from this track, it’s that SEDA can actually sing quite well. Unlike so many artists in this genre, SEDA’s voice comes through bright and clear, without assistance from a bunch of vocal processing and autotune type effects. You just can’t fake it with this style of singing. If you’ve got it, it’s apparent immediately, as it is on this recording. Musically, the song is very minimalistic and ambient. It’s SEDA’s emotive vocals amidst an echoey, dreamlike mix of piano and light synths. This isn’t a club jam. It’s more like music for a romantic, candlelit dinner, with the song invoking a soothing atmosphere. You can tell that someone put their heart into making this recording.
Audible is a new track from “Belize born/Brooklyn raised” hip hop artist JLewis. What’s striking to me about JLewis is in the way he defies rap cliches and stereotypes, while at the same time retaining credibility with his music. If one were to listen to Audible without paying much attention to anything but the music and tone, they might just assume it fits the mold of a standard, decent hip hop track. He has a nice flow and delivers his lines with a capably charismatic intensity. However, JLewis avoids the usual griping and posturing and instead articulates a more constructive message. Rather than complaining and blaming others for a laundry list of problems they may or may not be responsible for, JLewis sees the path forward as one where people find ways to achieve success (buying property etc.) and subsequently use their financial and social leverage to control the system the way others do now. One interesting tidbit about JLewis is that his bio states that served in the military for 8 years (including 3 different wars,) eventually leaving the military on good terms with an honorable discharge. A hip hop artist who has been around the globe a few times, it seems clear that he has learned a thing or two about how the world works. It’s nice to see a rapper go into so much depth in his lyrics. “Freedom of speech costs a pretty penny.”
A rapper from Norfolk, Virginia known by the moniker of “Kidd Cutta” has a new jam out titled Tha Man. It’s much more melodic and musical than I was expecting. Usually these types of songs are all bluster and attitude, but Kid Cutta demonstrates some ability to carry a tune in addition to his excellent timing. The kind of pacing alterations and transition to (casual) musical vocals are not something that just anyone can do. To put it another way, this recording does not sound amateurish at all. Kid Cutta is not just another guy trying to pose as a rapper. Tha Man is legit, and this artist does a fine job in representing the Norfolk, Virginia scene. The musical backing itself on this track is good, too. Has a nice ambient quality to it.
Kids Play With Guns is a provocative new track from pop/hip hop artist, Kettie Munroe. Kettie displays all the ingredients here of a budding contemporary pop star. In Kids Play With Guns (an its accompanying video,) Kettie’s not shy about flaunting her attitude. She delivers edgy lyrics in a catchy style, and asserts herself on the dance floor capably and confidently. Kettie has a fashionably colorful and aesthetically pleasing appearance, which comes across well on the video medium. Her musical sound could be described as if you were to combine the Spice Girls’ and Aaliyah and added some aggressiveness and NC-17 content. Kids Play With Guns definitely hits the mark in terms of marketability.
FEMI.X, a self described “latin erotic poet,” is set to release her erotic rough house EP, DJ’s BANGMEE. The songs feature erotically charged, occasionally raunchy lyrics, which are surprisingly listenable. FEMI.X has a very pleasant, almost hypnotic voice. It’s very easy on the ears. Content wise, she’s like a house music version of the singer Peaches, (but much less abrasive.) The tracks are very well produced, with backing house beats which blend well with the vocals. The EP is sexual and seductive without seeming cheap, or done for shock value. A lot of attention (here by all parties involved) was paid to getting the music to sound just right, which is what makes it all work.
Spiritual is a 16 track mixtape from 4 Wheel City, a rap group featuring two charismatic motivational speakers and hip hop performers (Namel “Tapwaterz” Norris and Ricardo “Rickfire” Velasquez.) The twist is that they are both in wheelchairs as a result of gun violence. As you might ascertain from the title, Spiritual is geared to inspire. Their stated mission is to “use hip-hop music and culture to create more opportunities for the disabled and inspire people not to give up in life,” but this release isn’t just for the disabled. It could really be helpful to just about anyone who needs a little encouragement and motivation, or even anyone that just enjoys listening to hip hop music.
What’s striking about this release is the fullness of it. It contains 16 unique tracks, each filled to the brim with lyrical substance and musical depth. Even the spoken word intro, the thinnest of the tracks, serves a vital function as a piece of the puzzle. There are some attention grabbing samples, such as those in Noah.
The backing music is very ambient for a hip hop album, occasionally even resembling Native American style music, (which is somewhat fitting for the album;s message of finding peaceful determination and courage from within oneself to overcome adversity.) There is quite a range even here though, with other songs having more conventional house beat backing, and still others featuring groovy, retro analog vibes. One of the best tracks on here is Disabled Lives Matter. It has a hypnotic, old school hip hop feel. Lyrically it goes deeper than you might expect for a song with a bumper sticker slogan title. The song in explicit detail captures the feeling of “not being able to escape,” which is something I hadn’t really considered as being central to a disabled person’s struggle. The sentiment, conveyed very well here, can be taken literally and figuratively. Being disabled makes it physically more difficult to evacuate or get out of harm’s way. Psychologically, one must come to terms with the fact they cannot “escape” their condition. However, Spiritual inspires disabled people to confront their conditions in a positive way, and reminds everyone that each of us has physical and mental barriers that we must overcome to achieve our dreams.
Book Me For a Show is a brand new solo mixtape from Erie, PA based artist, Mucho Dinero. At 11 tracks, the listener is sure to get their time/money’s worth out of this release. It comes jam packed with all sorts of flavorful jams like Day 1 and No Snake Zone. What jumps out at me about Mucho Dinero is that he has a distinct sounding voice, which will make him recognizable. He’s soft spoken and has a laid back delivery, but the actual tone of his voice is very unique. A lot of indie rappers sound almost exactly the same as one another, but I really can’t think of another rapper that sounds quite like Mucho Dinero. That is something that works in his favor. I’ve reviewed quite a few mixtapes before which had featured multiple artists, and it can be difficult to tell the who’s who and what’s whats. That’s not the case on Book Me For a Show. The pacing of the songs is somewhat varied. The opening track, Have Ya is chill and subdued, almost coming across like spoken word poetry at times. Other tracks like 2 More are a little more peppy and fast paced. Anyway, this release should definitely be enough to get this dude booked for some actual shows.
Más Allá is a new single from Los Angeles based artist, Caesar Osiris. It was created with the intention of inspiring environmental awareness. The song’s aquatic ambiance and sea breeze aesthetic illustriously showcase the beauty of the oceans Osiris seeks to preserve. Musically the track could pass as a fairly decent pop single, bio-fueled by Caesar’s more than capable singing abilities and some energizing tropical synths. The production value is very good, on par with a professional label release. The video also features some choreographed dancing as well as some creative costume choices. This is a solid effort by a determined artist, and it’s for a great cause. We all need to do a better job of taking care of our oceans. Not only is water necessary for our lives, the sea creatures do not have anywhere else to go if we ruin their home.